On Grief and Healing


This has been such a difficult weekend, few weeks, semester, few years. Death in our community is tragic, and when connected with the many challenges being experienced this semester, it’s no wonder that things may feel a bit heavy or overwhelming.

Support yourself

  • Give yourself time and space to fully experience whatever feelings are coming up for you. Explore your own feelings without feeling pressure to perform them for others.
  • Connect with people – from neighbors to loved ones to mental health professionals. Lean on people around you to help work through the stages of grief however they show up for you. 
  • Ease up on the demands you place on yourself this week.

Support others, if you can

  • Send that message / make that call. Start by reaching out to the people around you who may be struggling. Just a simple, “How are you doing, really?” is perfect.
  • Focus on asking open-ended questions. 
  • Give time and space for the answers. “I’ve got lots of time and am fine talking with you about this,” is a great way to show you’re ready to listen if that’s true for you. Refer to resources when appropriate.
  • Engage in meaningful activities. There are many opportunities to provide support or process with fellow students, and we’ll do our best to share those in our Instagram stories and Twitter feed. There is healing in solidarity. 
  • If you’re a TA, do what you can to support your students.
    • Be flexible. Excuse students from assignments if appropriate, give extensions, change class routines, etc. These are all not only permissible but encouraged to help all our students in these difficult times 
    • Be explicit about your support. In an email or during class, make clear your concern for your students and your availability to talk or meet with them, e.g., “please feel free to contact me personally or by email or to respond to all if you have thoughts or feelings you would like to share. This is a hard time and we need to be there for each other.”
You are enough, just as you are.
The staff at UNC Healthy Heels are committed to systemic changes to support the health and wellbeing of UNC students and work collaboratively with stakeholders throughout UNC and the community towards that goal. There is much work to be done. Join us in our efforts by getting involved in ways that fit your needs.

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