Grief Management Resources for College Students
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Grief impacts people in many different ways, and if you’re a college student far away from your family and support system, it may be doubly difficult to handle loss when it comes your way. In a study of college students, 40% of students had been impacted by the death of a friend or relative by the age of 18.

One of the most common causes of grief is the loss of a close friend or family member. However, grief can also be experienced outside of the loss of life. Many things can cause you to experience grief, including:

  • Death of a family member
  • Death of a friend
  • Loss of a friendship 
  • Loss of a relationship 
  • Loss of time 
  • Loss of safety or security
  • Loss of physical or mental health
  • Loss of youthfulness 
  • Loss of financial security

There are two types of grief: acute grief and persistent or complicated grief. Acute grief tends to begin to subside after about six months, while complicated grief is persistent six months to a year after the loss. This means that your grief is still negatively affecting your ability to function and make it through each day long after the initial loss. If you are experiencing complicated grief, seek out a mental health professional so they can help you work through your complicated grief and begin to function again.

Dealing with grief can make it difficult to maintain daily activities, and you may isolate yourself from friends and family. However, there are resources available to help you through this challenging time.

Resources that can help

If you’ve experienced the sudden loss of someone close to you, it can be overwhelming to know what to do next. You’re dealing with those feelings of loss, yet you have to figure out how to keep up with classes and assignments as well. Here are a few places to start so you can get the help you need to not only manage your grief, but also not let it negatively impact your GPA:

  • School support department— Many colleges have a grief or bereavement department that exists specifically to help students who are grieving the death of a loved one. These departments can help you contact your professors if you need to miss class or ask for an extension on a test or project. If you need to take a leave of absence from college after the death of a loved one, they can help direct you to the departments you need to work with to get that absence approved. They can also put you in touch with other resources to help you through the grieving process.
  • Counseling services — Therapy can be an important part of the grieving process, but if you’re a student, you may not know where to go to get the help you need. Many colleges have an on-campus counseling center that students can go to if they feel they need help with their mental health. Having a professional to talk to can help you learn to manage your grief, and they can also point you to other resources if you need them. At Lightfully U, we offer virtual counseling services for students ages 18 to 25 who are dealing with a number of mental health disorders, including complicated grief.
  • Student groups — Some universities have on-campus student support groups for grief or bereavement. Support groups can help you connect with other people who are going through similar circumstances and can provide support and assistance as you walk through your grief. While these groups cannot replace therapy, they do offer a way for you to process your grief alongside other people. 

If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your university’s mental health services or a professor you trust to see if they can connect you with the right resources for grief management. 

Symptoms of grief

Grief impacts people in many different ways, and it can bring up unexpected emotions. When you’re grieving, you may feel:

  • Anger
  • Guilt 
  • Avoidance
  • Shock
  • Denial 
  • Loneliness
  • Questioning
  • Deep sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Numbness

These are all considered natural emotional responses associated with grief. If you’re a college student who is unexpectedly dealing with grief, you may feel more uncertain about your plans for the future or guilt if you were unable to be with the person you lost before they died. These responses are natural, and processing those emotions can help you move through your grief.

Grief takes time to work through, and you deserve to have resources available to you to help you work through this challenging process. Lightfully U is here to help college students walk through their grief with a trained professional.

When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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