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Grief & Loss Impact

Grief & Loss

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency or crisis, please contact campus security at (304) 367-4357, dial 911, or go to the nearest emergency room for immediate help.

1/3 of college students experience the death of someone close to them. One recent study suggests that 30% of college students were bereaved in the past 12 months, and 39% in the past 24 months.  47% of college students had experienced a death in the past 24 months and that almost 20% of them had experienced multiple losses in that time. Student academic performance and engagement was affected by their loss, especially when the deceased was someone close to the student.

Losing a person can be an extremely painful experience - grieving is an unavoidable process that can take weeks or even months.  Some avoid grieving by remaining focused on other aspects of life, which can be functional (particularly if other areas of life require a good bit of attention for success).

Normal Signs of Grief

Somatic or bodily distress, preoccupation with the image of the deceased, guilt relating to the deceased or circumstances around the death, hostile reactions, and the inability to function as one had before the loss.


Sadness, anger, shock, denial, numbness, guilt, anxiety, loneliness, fatigue, helplessness, yearning, existential doubts.

Physical Sensations

Hollowness in the stomach, tightness in the chest, tightness in the throat, oversensitivity to noise, a sense of de-personalization "I walk down the campus and nothing seems real, including me", breathlessness, feeling short of breath, weakness in the muscles, lack of energy, dry mouth.


Disbelief, confusion, preoccupation, sense of presence, hallucinations (often transient illusory experiences often occurring within a few weeks following the loss, and generally do not point to complicated grief -many find these experiences comforting, although they are disconcerting to others).


Sleep disturbances, appetite disturbances, absent-minded behavior, social withdrawal, dreams of the deceased (both normal kinds of dreams and distressing dreams or nightmares), avoiding reminders of the deceased, restless over activity, crying, visiting places or carrying objects that remind you of the deceased.


Grief and Loss in College

Please join our Grief Therapy Group every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at noon. Sessions take place in the group therapy room in the Office of Student Health on the 3rd floor of the falcon center. Feel free to bring your lunch. This group therapy is open to students, staff and faculty.