When someone suffers a loss, it disrupts order and can sometimes lead to feelings that life is out of control and meaningless.

While in college, students may deal with the death of a parent, sibling, friend, or classmate. These deaths may be accidental, e.g., a car accident or a drug overdose; may be sudden, e.g., a parent having a heart attack; or may be the result of a long illness, e.g., a grandparent dying of cancer. An entire campus or academic department may grieve the death of a beloved professor or classmate. Feelings are often compounded by a sense of shock and a longing for the opportunity to say good-bye. The loss of meaning and control adds distress to grief.

Regaining meaning and a sense of control may help students endure the grieving process. Those experiencing grief tend to function better within an already established support system, e.g., family and friends. Grief is a natural process but may become complicated, e.g., a student is not able to function and may be depressed; therefore, therapeutic intervention may be needed.

If you are aware that a student is grieving: