Is Your Student in Mourning?
Recognizing the Stages of Grief
There are many things that students may be mourning during their college years: the end of a significant relationship, the death of a close family member or friend, a parental divorce, separating from an organization or activity that was a big part of her life and more. You may be noticing some of this as your returning student mourns the loss of her lifestyle and relationships that she experienced at school, now that she's home for the summer. Or your new student may be starting to mourn the loss of her friendships — and comfort zone — at home as she prepares to head to college in the fall.
Understanding the stages of grief that students will likely experience can help you be there for them while also pointing them toward campus counselors who
can provide additional assistance.
Here's what to look out for, as many people go through the five stages of grief, in their own way and on their own time. They include:
- Denial — Denying or refusing to believe that the incident or event happened.
- Anger — Feelings of frustration, agitation and anger, which can sometimes lead to blaming others (even those not necessarily responsible) or the desire to"get even."
- Bargaining — Better known as guilt. In fact, individuals experiencing this stage often blame and burden themselves with feelings of excessive amounts of
guilt and/or regret.
- Depression — During this stage, individuals may experience a lapse in routine, trouble sleeping, and/or feelings of "numbness" or sadness.
- Acceptance — Admitting the incident occurred and accepting the reality of the situation.
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