U-M Counseling and Psychological Services

Help Yourself

  • Validate your own feelings. Acknowledge and accept all feelings, both positive and negative. You may not feel comfortable with these feelings, but they are normal and expected.
  • Talk to others. Telling the story of the loss can help some people. Others will might not want to talk about the loss, but will find comfort and security by simply spending time with someone who “gets it”.
  • Listen to others. Remember that you don’t have to always respond with words.
  • Write down your thoughts. Use a journal to document the healing process.
  • Accept help from others. (Doing errands, taking notes in class, etc.)
  • Allow yourself to cry. Tears serve a dual purpose; they offer emotional and physical release.
  • Identify any unfinished business and try to come to a resolution.
  • Join a bereavement group. Support groups provide an opportunity to share grief with others who have experienced similar loss.
  • Celebrate their life. Remembering the good times can help present a balanced picture of the person that was.
  • Celebrate your life. There’s nothing like a loss to remind us to live every day to the fullest, to not put off your dreams until a later date that we might not get. Dedicate your goal to your friend’s memory. Do it for them as well as yourself.

Help a Friend

  • 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.
  • Show that you care. 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.