By Lily Meyers
As a student, there can already be a lot of pressure taking up headspace, time, and effort. But when you’re dealing with feelings of loss and grief from losing a loved one to suicide, it can have an immense impact on mental health.
When losing someone to suicide, it can have a ‘ripple effect’ on family and friends which can be devastating. According to the research, approximately 115 people die by suicide every week in the UK. It’s then further estimated that 135 are directly affected by each death. Within those 135 people, there’s bound to be a student in crisis, and they need all the correct support available.
Understanding the Impact
Losing someone to suicide can present so many feelings that can be overwhelming to deal with all at once, especially on your own. Some of the impacts of coping with a loss like this include:
● Fear of Judgement: The current discourse surrounding suicide and dealing with the aftermath can carry certain expectations on how to react and heal. This can make it more challenging to open up and provides a reason to isolate yourself from others due to feeling misunderstood or judged, making the healing process even more difficult.
● Fluctuating Emotions: Students are often already overwhelmed with emotions- whether that’s due to being surrounded by new people or a complete change in scenery. But processing those emotions while dealing with existing ones of confusion, guilt, anger, and anxiety can make it incredibly tough to think clearly.
● Struggling with Studies: Keeping on top of studies while trying to take care of your mental health can be incredibly tough, and often students who do this will begin to get burnout a lot quicker. This can impact grades and attendance levels as they try and push through.
● Social Relationships: The loss of a loved one to suicide can sometimes strain social relationships. Friends and acquaintances might not know how to offer support, and students may feel that they’re treated differently. This can further exacerbate feelings of isolation.
Coping Strategies for Students
It’s never easy being thrown into a brand-new environment and having to cope with new changes while grieving the past. Reminding yourself that facing this alone doesn’t have to be the case, and putting trust in others to help you can help yourself significantly.
● Seek Campus Support: Many universities and colleges have counselling services that can provide you with professional guidance and emotional support.
● Connect with Peers: Reach out to friends, roommates, or fellow students who can provide a listening ear and emotional support. You can join our online meetings to speak to/ listen to people who can relate.
● Be Kind to Yourself: Grieving is a personal journey, and there’s no linear line of progression. Take time out for yourself and have patience with your recovery progress.
● Remember and Celebrate their Lives: It can help to pay tribute to those you’ve lost. This can be done in any way you like, from writing a letter to simply lighting a candle.
Recovering from a loss like this isn’t a straight path. It requires time to heal and patience with yourself to understand and navigate emotions. For students, reaching out to campus support routes and taking it one step at a time will help them to ease into their new chapter. If you or another student is struggling or would like to share your story, contact us here to see how we can help.