University Counseling Center
The Grieving Student
During the course of most college student’s academic careers, it is likely he or she will have someone close to him or her die (e.g., sibling, parent, grandparent, close friend, boy/girlfriend). Each person will grieve in slightly different ways.
What You Can Do:
- Ask the student if he/she would like to talk about the person who has died (e.g., “Would you like to tell me about your friend?”).
- Listen carefully and compassionately (e.g., “I am so sorry you have lost your grandmother, and I feel sad as I listen to you talk about her”).
- Have Kleenex available.
- Consider the option of allowing students to postpone turning in assignments or taking exams.
- Share similar experiences you have had so the student doesn’t feel alone or “crazy” (e.g., “When my mother passed away, I couldn’t concentrate on anything either”).
- Be on the alert for signs that the student is feeling a need to harm him/herself as a way to cope with the pain. (See section on “The Suicidal Student.”)
- Be afraid of tears. Tears are a natural, healthy way to release very intense emotions.
- Avoid discussing the deceased person with the student. He/She is often grateful to find someone who will listen.
- Say, “It’s not that bad,” “Things will get better,” “Crying won’t help,” or “I know exactly what you are feeling.”
Guide Table of Content
- Typical Concerns for UR Students
- What You Should Know About Student Problems
- Symptoms of Distressed or Distressing Students
- Responding to Distressed or Distressing Students
- Making a Referral to the UR Counseling Center
- Responding to Student Emergencies
- The UR Counseling Center
- Information About Confidentiality
- Mandated Risk Assessment
- Other Campus Referral Sources
- Academic Faculty: Classroom Climate and Prevention
- Responding After a Tragedy: An In-The-Classroom Guide
- The Grieving Student
- The Anxious/Shy Student
- The Student Who May Have an Eating Disorder
- The Demanding Student
- The Dependent/Passive Student
- The Depressed Student
- The Student in Poor Contact with Reality
- The Student Suspected of Substance Abuse or Addiction
- The Victim of Stalking
- The Victim of an Abusive Dating Relationship
- The Victim of a Hate Incident
- The Victim of Hazing
- The Student Who Has Been Sexually Harassed (Assaulted)
- The Suicidal Student
- The Suspicious Student
- The Verbally Aggressive Student
- The Violent Student
- The Absent/Disappeared From Class Student
- Responding to Students with Transition Issues
- Responding to the Student with Choice of Major or Career Concerns