Grief and Loss

When someone you know dies, you may feel overwhelmed, which is why it’s important to learn how to deal with death, dying and grief.

On this page:

Understanding the Grieving Process

When a loved one, friend or classmate dies (or is dying), you will go through a grieving process. Losing someone close to you is very difficult emotionally, and it takes time to recover from the loss. But by understanding the process, you can recognize your feelings, and start to understand loss (and grief) as a natural part of life. The grieving experience will also show you that you are strong enough to cope with tragedy, and can handle other stressful events that you may face in the future.

The grieving process usually consists of the following stages. Of course, each person is different, so you may not go through all of these stages:

Advice for Coping with Grief

The grieving process is not easy. It takes time, and some days will be better than others. Here are some ways you can get through each day:

  • Discuss feelings such as loneliness, anger and sadness openly and honestly with other students, instructors and family members
  • Maintain hope, when it’s appropriate
  • If your religious convictions are important to you, talk to a member of the clergy about your beliefs and feelings
  • Join a support group
  • Take good care of yourself by eating well-balanced meals, getting plenty of sleep, and engaging in positive behaviors
  • Be patient with yourself; it takes time to heal

Ways to Help a Bereaved Student

You can play a critical role in helping someone who is going through the grieving process.

  • Be supportive; sometimes just by being there for a student, you can help
  • Understand the stages of grief and how a student might feel in each stage; for example, do not attempt to encourage a student who is in the depressed stage of grieving, since this 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 by listening attentively, and showing interest in what the grieving student has to say
  • Share your feelings and talk about any similar experience you may have had, but avoid using the phrase “I know just how you feel” since each situation is unique
  • If the symptoms of depression are very severe or persistent, and the grieving student is not coping with day-to-day activities, please encourage that student to get professional help through Counseling Services

Get Help

Short-term on campus mental health support

University at Buffalo
120 Richmond Quadrangle, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14261

Phone: (716) 645-2720; Fax: (716) 645-2175

University at Buffalo
1st Floor Michael Hall, South Campus
Buffalo, NY 14214

Phone: (716) 829-5800

Primary, non-emergency medical care

University at Buffalo
4350 Maple Rd
Amherst, NY 14226

Phone: (716) 829-3316; Fax: (716) 829-2564

Preventative health and wellness education

Health Promotion

Student Life

University at Buffalo
114 Student Union, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260

Phone: (716) 645-2837; Fax: (716) 645-6234

Additional Resources

Need to talk?

Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 support via text message. We're here for everything: anxiety, depression, suicide, and more. Text: Got5U to 741741


This information is designed to provide self-help resources for mental health. This website is not psychotherapy treatment. If you have questions, need help or just want someone to talk with, please contact Counseling Services.