In the wake of several student deaths, Dr. Mark Stevens, director of University Counseling Services, explains the importance of reaching out for help even if you don’t necessarily think you’re affected.
What types of grief services can students receive from university counseling services?
When students see other people of their own age die unexpectedly they ask the question of, ‘How vulnerable am I?’ Counseling offers different ways to explore this issue because people grieve differently. All of our counselors are trained to deal with issues of grief and loss.
Why is it important to reach out for help?
In the context of reaching out for help it isn’t so much about seeing a counselor, it’s about students talking and being able to talk about their reaction with someone they feel comfortable with and often times it can be really healing.
There’s not a right or wrong way to grieve people do it in a very different sort of way. People typically feel an incredible amount of pain and disbelief. It’s good for students to give themselves time to grieve, whether it’s taking time off from work or school. They should also reduce their alcohol and drug consumption.
They can feel insecure because they identify with that student because of their age or what they were doing. We don’t walk across the street anticipating a drunk driver coming down the street at 60 miles per hour. It’s important to recognize that these events happen and if someone feels shaky it’s a normal reaction, even if they didn’t know the person.
If you really knew the person well taking part in a memorial or recognition of the person helps to heal. Being a part of some good-bye process and taking time to recognize the loss and emotional pain.
Some people get back to the regular business of life too quickly and some people feel like they can’t afford to take the time off to grieve.
Only that we are here to listen and we are more than willing to accommodate students in this time if needed. We also have an extensive self-help library online.
For more information on University Counseling Services, visit www.csun.edu/counseling. Students can also make an appointment to see a counselor at (818) 677-2366.