Grief is an issue facing this nation’s youth like never before. 1 in 3 college students experience the death of a family member or close friend who died within the last 12 months. With nearly 18.4 million students enrolled in American colleges in 2009 and the number of traumatic crises ever-increasing on college campuses, that means that at any given moment, more than 4.5 million college students are grieving a death loss.
If you’re wondering why grief is more prevalent in our youth than ever before, you need only look at the front page of CNN or your Google news feed. Sexual assault crimes, mass shootings on college campuses and increased youth suicide are on the rise. These events directly impact the number of youth grieving a death loss.
The growing Coronavirus pandemic will likely add to this number, as youth increasingly experience the death loss of a family member or friend.
With no end in sight to these events, there are things within our control that we can do – and that is where we must put our focus.
The overarching problem in this situation is a lack of resources. One area we observe to be particularly lacking is University bereavement options.
Doing a quick Google search confirms this.
If you open another browser tab right now and research your options when it comes to University bereavement policies, you’ll likely come up with very little. And if you search for your university in particular, the odds are that nothing will come up at all.
This is because in most cases, they simply don’t exist.
This leaves a grieving student with very few options but simply to trudge through the grief they are experiencing alone or to succumb to it completely and jeopardize their college career.
These really aren’t viable or sustainable options for the future of our youth – and they deserve a lot better from higher education institutions.
When grief is left to run its course, the outcome for college students may be lower grades and a huge risk of dropping out altogether. These things will take a toll on the student’s entire life – their career opportunities drastically reduced and financial hardships may blossom.
The solution to the problem in its essence is very simple – universities must create stronger bereavement policies and options.
The implementation of this solution and navigating the red tape by communicating with the sheer number of colleges and universities needed to be involved is exactly what we do. And there are ways for everyone to get involved so that in our lifetime, we may see a mandatory student grief and bereavement policy at every University and college.
How to Get Involved
The lack of bereavement options for college students is one of the reasons why AMF exists. It is part of our mission to bring awareness to a national level and incite change.
So, we invite you to get involved with us.
- Download and register for our app.
- Participate and create AMF events in your area
- Start an AMF chapter in your area if there isn’t one
- Volunteer with us
- Tell your friends and if you are a university professional, tell your students – sharing AMF is the best way to inspire change!
Remember, each single action taken today will help the youth of tomorrow. There is nothing to lose. Get involved today!
Communities and Organizations Working Towards Change:
The Mark Wandall Foundation is taking actionable steps to help students and young adults who are seeking a college education and are also dealing with grief.
They are offering $500 scholarships to young adults who have lost an immediate family member, to help with the financial burden of continuing college. You can read more about the program and apply here.
This is the type of action that will make change and we applaud their efforts! It is our hope that this will be a trend that continues in the coming years.