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Grief is the natural emotion that follows the loss of someone or something we hold dear to ourselves. When a loved one or classmate is dying or dies, it initiates a grieving process. Depending on the person and the situation, the grieving process could last a matter of days to years. The process can be slow and emotionally uncomfortable, but is important to be able to seek healing over the long-term. Every person will go through the grieving process at some point of life and should realize that grieving is a natural and important part of our life cycle. It is significant to learn to accept your loss and know that you have the resilience to bounce back from tragic events. Let your experience be an emotional and psychological growth process that ultimately celebrates the life of the one you lost.
Ways to Cope with Death and Dying
- Discuss feelings such as loneliness, anger, and sadness openly and honestly with other people.
- Maintain hope.
- If your religious convictions are important to you, talk to a religious mentor (clergy member or campus minister) about your beliefs and feelings.
- Join a support group.
- Take good care of yourself. Try to eat well-balanced meals and get plenty of rest. If you find yourself fatigued with a decrease in appetite, take a multivitamin daily as a dietary and energy supplement.
- Be patient with yourself. It takes time to heal and some days will be better than others.
Ways to Help a Bereaved Student
- Be supportive but do not attempt to give encouragement and reassurance when a student is in the depressed stage of grieving. It will not be helpful.
- Talk openly and honestly about the situation unless the student does not want to.
- Use an appropriate, caring, conversational tone of voice.
- Listen attentively and show interest in what the grieving student has to say about his/her feelings and beliefs. Share your feelings and talk about any similar experience you may have had. Avoid using the phrase "I know just how you feel."
- If symptoms of depression are very severe or persistent and the grieving student is not coping with day-to-day activities, encourage that student to get professional help.
The Counseling Center offers a free and confidential Grief Peer Support Group.
Please email email@example.com to express interest in joining the group.
(412) 224-4700 - Squirrel Hill, PA (Pittsburgh)
Call for educational resources and referrals to grief therapists.
"The premise of the Good Grief Center is to be a comprehensive bereavement resource and referral center that builds a more compassionate community through grief awareness, education, support, and hope; creating a safe place where all who have experienced the pain of death may come to work through loss and learn to manage grief."
(888) 734-4073 - Warrendale, PA location (25 minutes from RMU)
Free peer support groups for grieving children under 18 who have lost a family member. Parents, guardians, and adult siblings of these children are also able to participate in support groups at the Caring Place. Locations in Erie, Harrisburg Area, and Pittsburgh, PA.
"The Highmark Caring Place is a family-centered, child-focused, peer support program. With the focus on children, every aspect of the program is designed with the needs of children and teens in mind. It is family-centered because, when a family member dies, the whole family grieves, and therefore the whole family needs support. As a peer support program, the Caring Place provides an environment where children, teens and adults can receive support from others their own ages who are going through very similar experiences."
Suicide Bereavement/Support GroupsOur support groups are once-a-month ‘Open Meetings.' New members are always welcome.
The North Hills group meets on the 1st Wednesday of the month - 7 PM to 8:30 PM
St. Joseph Parish of O’Hara Township (~30 minutes from RMU)
346 Dorseyville Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
Call Karen at 412-963-8628
A newly formed South Hills Suicide Support Group meets on the 3rd Wednesday of each month - 7:30PM to 9PM
Elizabeth Seton Center (~25 minutes from RMU)
1900 Pioneer Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Call Jack at 412-508-5383 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - Find a Support Group
AFSP lists U.S. and international support groups in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and China.
Half of Us - Loss
View videos of real-life stories and learn how to cope with loss
ReachOut: Loss and Grief Fact Sheets
ReachOut fact sheets are written by young people for young people and are edited by a mental health professional.
Read real-life stories about young people dealing with loss and grief here.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Resources
"You are not alone. Suicide affects millions each year, and thanks to our donors and volunteers–many of whom are loss survivors themselves–we can provide these resources to help you heal."