The group is suitable for students who have had a recent or historical bereavement that is affecting their wellbeing and possibly their studies. Our aim is to provide a safe space where students can meet others who have a shared bereavement experience thus allowing them to be themselves, to feel accepted and comfortable in acknowledging the grieving process and not feel alone or judged. This group will not be therapy or require the student to talk openly about their experiences but be a space where they can choose to be quiet and listen or choose to share how they have been doing. We will be encouraging of students to share with each other anything that has helped them through their grieving process if they are happy to do so, such as coping strategies they use such as art, crafts, going out for a walk. The group will be about getting to know each other rather than solely focused on individual bereavements with the knowledge that all members of the group have a shared experience and understanding.
This group will run online initially, but depending on how lockdown progresses, we will also try to add in social activities such as group walks when restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so. Eventually we hope this group will be face to face where we can do a range of social activities together.
It is hoped that by facilitating this group to develop, students will take the lead as they are the people best able to identify what support/ activities will help them during this difficult change in their lives.
Bereavement is difficult and the grieving process is uniquely different for each person. Some want to talk openly; others want to be quiet with their thoughts.
We hope that the space we wish to create will allow students to be how they want to be; a place to share thoughts/ feelings or perhaps just be quiet and listen when words aren’t there or can’t be said at that moment. It is also hoped that friendships and support networks will flourish that can go beyond group meetings to enable people to cope better.
There is no expectation that a student needs to attend the group every week. The group is there for those students who benefit from this and we understand this can vary from week to week. For example, it may be that you have not attended the group for a couple of weeks, but one week you may feel you need this space to talk, sometimes it can be reassuring to know it is there.
Pat and Thea are advisers who have set up the group in Student Services. They will attend each of the groups and be there to support students and help guide the group if this is needed. Pat and Thea both have their own experiences of bereavement and set up this group due to feeling passionate about the need for this space to share, feel understood and accepted, to both give and receive support.