Counseling Center

Grief and Loss

Sustaining a loss has a significant emotional impact.  In addition to grieving who or what has been lost, students may experience disruption of their beliefs, values, and identity.  The effects of loss often go on long after mourning rituals are over, leaving students in need of support when they are expected to “get back to normal.”  Grief is not a disease or disorder; it is a normal emotional response that must run its course.  Sometimes students can get stuck in grief or can feel isolated in their experience. Acknowledging loss and providing space for students to talk can make a big difference in a student’s healing.

Recognize

  • Exhaustion, fatigue
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Mood changes
  • Missed classes or decrease in academic performance
  • Suicidal thoughts, fears of death or illness
  • Withdrawal or disruption in relationships
  • Anxiety, anger, depression
  • Difficulty concentrating

Respond

  • Check in with the student about how they’re doing
  • Listen
  • Don’t tell them to get over it or move on
  • Respect their spiritual or religious beliefs.  Do not impose your own beliefs about why people die and what happens after death.
  • It is okay not to know what to say or do. Just be there.
  • Encourage them to seek support                                            

Refer

On Campus (413-542-extension)

Off Campus

  • Valley Bereavement Services 413-256-6940
  • The Garden 413-584-7086
  • The SafePlace support group for suicide loss