Grief and Loss

Facts

  • Each year about 16% of ASU students surveyed indicate they have experienced the death of a family member or friend.
  • 15.2% of ASU students indicated that experiencing the death of a family member or friend had been difficult or traumatic to handle (in the past 12 months.
  • One in five students (19%) of those who had experienced the death of a family member or friend in the past year indicated that it had a serious impact on their academic performance, meaning that they received a lower grade in a class, dropped or took an incomplete in a class, or had a significant delay in their graduation processes.
  • 45.5% of ASU students indicated they were interested in receiving information about grief and loss from ASU.

Sources: American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment: Arizona State University Metro Campus Students Spring 2018. Baltimore: American College Health Association; Spring 2018 (n=1,304).

Basic Information

Basic Information

Grief is a deeply personal experience that occurs as a response to loss. The journey through grief is unique. We all go through it in our own way and at our own pace. Some examples of losses that could cause grief are:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Death of a pet
  • Loss of a job
  • Loss of health
  • Loss of a relationship
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of finances

Stages of Grief

Stages of Grief

Grief is a journey that one must navigate to reach healing. This journey includes passing through common stages of grief, which can be experienced in any order and/or multiple times.

  • Denial: shock, numbness or isolation
  • Anger: resentment and frustration towards loved ones or the situation
  • Bargaining: helplessness, guilt, “If only…”
  • Depression: intense sadness, regret, withdrawing
  • Acceptance: accepting the loss, accepting the new reality

Coping with Grief

Coping with Grief

Grief is a unique journey that requires time and energy. Everyone deals with grief in their own way, yet there may be moments when grief feels overwhelming and exhausting. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there are healthy and unhealthy ways to grieve. Challenge yourself to use healthy ways to cope with grief and loss, such as:

  • Keep a diary or journal of your thoughts and feelings
  • Write a letter to your loved one or pet
  • Volunteer or donate to a charity in honor of your loved one
  • Get a massage
  • Sign up for an exercise class
  • Attend a faith service
  • Reflect on the goals and visions for your future
  • Reach out to supportive individuals

Remember to be patient with yourself and give yourself time to heal. There may be days when you feel great, but there may also be setbacks. Reminders can trigger emotions or a physical response. This is not a sign of weakness. Instead it is a sign that you are still moving through the grief journey.

How to Help a Friend

How to Help a Friend

Grief is a unique journey, yet we can still support each other. Let a friend know that you want to support them through the grief journey. Practice the following support strategies:

  • Practice good listening skills and validate your friend’s emotions
  • Express your concern for your friend
  • Let your friend know that you care
  • Be available for contact
  • Help your friend develop balance in their life

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