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About us

The Student Grief Network aims to soften the impact of bereavement in universities across the UK by creating a range of avenues for education and support - from online resources and staff training to creative projects and events.

SGN is led by students and recent graduates who have all had first-hand experience of loss. At the heart of our work is the belief that managing grief at university does not have to be as overwhelming or lonely as many students find it. We address the difficulties and emotional pain of bereavement while also making space for connection, creativity, and empowerment.

What’s the need?

Around 4% of people lose a parent by the age of sixteen (UK CBN, 2019) and near one third of students experience a loss of some kind during their studies (Spicca et al, 2022). That’s tens of thousands of students, and yet, across university communities in the UK, grief remains a largely misunderstood and unspoken topic.

Grief can be a highly stressful experience, with emotional, physical, social, and financial impacts. It can be hard to keep going as normal, and so often we see a knock-on effect in education and employment, as well as people’s relationships, health, and self-esteem, among other things.

There is a huge lack of awareness and gap in the provision of support within Higher Education. We want to be part of building a more compassionate culture around grief and help address the needs of students and staff in some of life’s most challenging moments.

A note from our founder

SGN has grown from my personal experiences of loss, alongside years of research, training, and development, not to mention hundreds of important conversations with other grievers and professionals.

My brother died in an accident when I was ten. I know from this that loss can really shatter someone’s world and lead to a whole host of challenges, and it often feels easier to shut it all out. But I’ve also seen another side to grief, when my Dad died in my final year at university. While still incredibly painful, this loss acted like a catalyst to self-discovery and connection to the world around me. You can read more about my experiences of loss here.

With gratitude to all involved with the Bereaved Student Network at the University of Leeds, especially Andrew Durham, who helped lay the foundations for what we now do.

– Anna May  

Some of the faces behind The Student Grief Network