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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Grief And Loss

With the recent deaths of students within our community, we thought it would be helpful to give some mental health tips for helping someone work through grief and loss

Typically there are some common stages of grief. Please explain

The stages of grief are commonly identified through the work of Elisebeth Kubler-Ross who has identified 5 stages of grieving.
o Shock and denial: The inability to feel anything. The mourner may feel numb, overwhelmed, anxious and withdrawn
o Anger: Blaming self or others for the loss
o Bargaining: Trying to ask a Higher Power for a change, or pleading for a different result
o Depression: The feeling of sadness, disturbed sleep, thoughts of suicide, or excessive crying
o Acceptance: Beginning to look for the lessons of the experience and acceptance that you can not change what has happened.

What are some suggestions for working though the grief?

o Accept your grief. It is acceptable to grieve the loss. Grieving is a natural part of healing and it is a self-loving behavior
o Remind yourself that grief stages have a purpose
o Remind yourself that the grief will end
o Take care of your health (eat nutritionally, get sleep, exercise)
o Process the loss with your support network. Talk about the person who is no longer in your life.
o Take time to be alone.
o Remind yourself that grief hurts, but it will not harm you
o Ask for help from others, including a therapist

What are some tips for helping someone who is experiencing a major loss
o allow the mourner to feel whatever they are feeling
o talk openly about the death and have a candid discussion about the consequences of death
o don't push the griever into hiding their feelings or covering up their grief. Be there for them, versus avoiding the mourner.
o Let the mourner tell you about their loss again and again if they need to, andencourage them to seek help if they don't seem to be moving forward in the process.
o Help the griever find a grief support group (at school, in the community, etc)
o Stay involved in the mourners life, and let them know you are available to support them beyond the initial few weeks after the death.

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