National College Student Grief Awareness Week

The 2013 National College Student Grief Awareness Week is taking place nationwide during April 7-13. The Awareness Week is organized in the following way: dozens of individuals around the country volunteer to be “Awareness Week Leaders” (we need YOU to serve as a leader!) and are sent instructions for raising awareness during the week.  Each Awareness Week Leader will be responsible for doing the action of the day each day (below) and asking each of his or her friends to also do the task of the day.  Please email lauren@studentsofamf.org if you’d like to be an “Awareness Week Leader” and be placed on the e-mail list for updates about the 2013 awareness week!

Why we raise awareness about college student grief: With one-third of all college students having grieved the death of a loved one in the last year and the lack of discussion about the topic, college student bereavement is a “silent epidemic” that can have profound negative effects academically, socially, and developmentally. It’s our vision that every college student feels supported in times of grief, so we created a whole week to make noise about this issue.

The goal of National College Student Awareness Week is to raise awareness about the prevalence and impact of coping with the illness or death of a loved one during college and to spread the word about National Students of AMF.

Our 2013 theme is Actively Moving Forward. Moving forward “actively” refers to activities that facilitate healing in the grief process: opening up to and reconnecting with friends, providing support to grieving peers, and channeling one’s grief towards positive outlets (e.g. volunteering in honor of ill or deceased loved ones). Over the last six years, we have witnessed the profound impact of Actively Moving Forward among 2,000+ grieving college students on 61 campuses across the country.

Whether you are grieving, know someone who is, or just want to help spread the word about grief in the college population, you can be part of National College Student Grief Awareness Week, which will take place April 7-13, 2013.

During National College Student Grief Awareness Week, you will:

  • Educate others on the prevalence of college student grief
  • Share your own personal experiences or make an effort to listen to someone else’s
  • Show your support for those who are grieving; express your feelings of grief
  • Honor those whose loss you feel every day, those who are still with you, and those who make your day brighter
  • Connect with someone who is grieving or someone who can support you in your time of grief
  • Serve others
  • Thank everyone for their support

 

Action of the day

In preparation:

Sunday, April 7
Educate others about the incidence of college student grief

  • Update your facebook/ twitter status or your email “signature” to read: “One in three college students has experienced the death of a loved one within the last year. But no one talks about it, so many students feel alone and unsupported. Join me this week in raising awareness about grieving college students and National Students of AMF (www.studentsofamf.org).”
  • Share the “one in three” statistic about the incidence of college bereavement with a grieving friend or make an announcement in a class or meeting.

Monday, April 8
Share your own personal experiences and make an effort to listen to someone else’s story

  • Via email, phone, or in person, share what it was like to lose someone with a close friend. Let them know the challenges you faced during this process.
  • Update your Facebook status to say, “Remembering (your loved one) today.”
    • Change your profile picture to one that includes him/her.
  • Email your story of grief during college to blog@studentsofamf.org. It may be placed on the “We get it” supportive blog (http://www.studentsofamf.org/category/we-get-it/), so others may be inspired by your story.

Tuesday, April 9
Show your support for those who are grieving

  • Send a card or email to someone who is grieving (especially to someone who experienced the death of a loved one more than 6 months ago, as they are more likely to experience a drop off in support). See Tips for Supporters in the Resource Document
  • Make a donation (even if only $10) to support grieving college students (http://www.studentsofamf.org/donate/make-a-donation/)

Wednesday, April 10
Serve others

  • Volunteer at your local hospital/ hospice or the charity of your choice in memory of a loved one
  • Spend time with someone who is grieving to show them that you are there for them; do something kind and helpful for a grieving friend, like rake their lawn or offer to cook a meal for them.

Thursday, April 11
Connect with resources that can support you and others during the grief process.

  • Encourage others to connect with important grief outlets such as professional counselors, clergy, and local hospices.
  • If there is not a Students of AMF chapter on the college campus nearest to you, consider committing to helping to raise awareness on campus to identify a student leader to start a chapter (email lauren@studentsofamf.org if you’re interested).
  • (College Students): Mark off the next Students of AMF chapter support group on your schedule.
    • If you don’t have a Students of AMF chapter at your school, ask others if they will join you in starting one; let us know if you’re interested.

Friday, April 12

Honor/celebrate those whose death we feel every day.

  • Do something that makes you feel connected with your deceased loved one (e.g., listen to his/ her favorite music, visit the gravesite, eat his/ her most enjoyed food, etc.).
  • Share with a friend about the impact your loved one made and how his/ her legacy continues.
  • Update your Facebook status to say, “Today I celebrate (your loved one).”
    • Change your profile picture to one that includes him/her.

Saturday, April 13
Thank everyone for their support

  • Thank friends and family who have been particularly helpful in helping you cope with your own losses; let them know how important their support was and still is!
  • Update your Facebook status to say, “35-48% of college students have lost a family member or close friend within the last 2 years. Thank you to all who have helped raise awareness of college student grief this week.”
  • Send a thank you card or email to those who have helped raise awareness this week (http://www.facebook.com/studentsofamf).