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Let’s Talk About Grief

It’s never easy coping with the loss of a loved one. Grief affects everyone in different ways and can feel overwhelming at this time of year when the loss is especially felt.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief. People find different ways to cope with the deep sadness resulting in loss, and the different stages of grief.

We hope you may find some comfort in understanding what you’re experiencing and what resources are available to help you deal with grief.

What is grief?

Grief is the direct response to a loss; it can involve unexpected bouts of sadness and may lead to depression or suicidal thoughts. If this is something you think you may be experiencing, Samaritans are ready to listen 24/7 on their freeline: 116 123. You can also email if you would prefer not to speak on the phone.

According to After Talk, grieving individuals experience five stages:

Denial – refusing to acknowledge the loss or believe it’s true
Anger – feelings of anger about the situation, or towards those around you
Bargaining – wondering how you could have changed things or stopped it from happening
Depression – extreme sadness
Acceptance – accepting that things can’t be changed, and moving forward

The five stages are experienced in no particular order and in no certain period of time, but perhaps you may recognise which stage you are currently experiencing or have experienced.

Grief is a natural response to loss, and both a universal and extremely personal experience. While you can’t control what you are feeling and what stage of grief you are experiencing, there is help out there, particularly when experiencing grief while managing your studies and assignments.

Myths and Facts About Grief

Help Guide has outlined some common myths and facts about grief and grieving that you may find some comfort in learning.

Myth: You must remain strong in the face of loss
Fact: Ignoring your pain will make it worse in the long run. Grief must be acknowledged in order to heal.

Myth: You must cry to feel sorry about your loss
Fact: There are many responses to feeling sad, and crying is just one of them. Many people show sadness in different ways.

Myth: Grieving lasts about a year
Fact: There is no time frame for grieving. Everyone is different and will grieve for a different period of time.

Resources for Dealing With Grief

Speak to Your Student’s Union
Your University’s Student Union is a community that is designed to empower you as a university student. Often SU’s have a large budget dedicated to mental health support, including helplines, counselling, financial support and more.

Prioritise Self-Care
It’s likely that grief will have a significant physical impact on your body, including your sleeping and eating habits. Try to keep on top of what time you are winding down for bed, and when your mealtimes are. Attempting some exercise can have a positive effect on both these factors, as well as your overall mental health.

Connect with Others
Spending time with others can be very helpful when we’re grieving. Don’t be afraid to let your loved ones know what they can do to help, and it’s okay to also let them know what not to do.

Accept What You’re Feeling
If you experience different emotions, that’s okay. Maybe you feel sad right now, but that is okay. Maybe you feel happy, and that is okay too. Allow yourself to accept what you’re feeling over the next few days, weeks, months, and years. Be kind to yourself.

Plan for Anniversaries
Often anniversary dates can be very difficult. It might help to plan for those dates, such as birthdays. Maybe you would like to have some free space that day or would prefer a structure for the day.

Use Support Services
There are lots of support services out there. Depending on which communication method you prefer, you can get support via email, web chat, phone, and text.

– Text SHOUT to 85258 for Mental Health Support
– Get webchat support here with Student Space
– Call National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652
– Call Samaritans 24/7 on 116 123
– Email to talk about anything on your mind

Written by the Nurtur Team