January 20, 2021
Online grief support group returns to assist faculty, staff with loss
In response to employee feedback regarding the difficulty in finding and connecting with grief support options in the local community, Heather Servaty-Seib, professor of counseling psychology, will be facilitating a weekly online grief support/discussion group for the Purdue community (faculty and staff). Beginning Jan. 29, the group will meet at 3 p.m. on Fridays through April 30. No registration is required.
“We are in a time when death losses are rising,” Servaty-Seib said. “The pandemic has resulted in so much loss — in all areas of life — and the most challenging of these have been the lives that have been lost. We need space for death to be talk-able — for it to be a topic that can be discussed and honored.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), grieving a loved one while coping with the fear and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be especially overwhelming. Common grief reactions described by the CDC include:
- Shock, disbelief or denial.
- Periods of sadness.
- Loss of sleep and loss of appetite.
“Grief is isolating,” Servaty-Seib said. “And it is so unique to each person that it is hard to believe that anyone could be experiencing anything similar to you, yet there are points of similarity among those grieving. My professional perspective as someone who specializes in death/dying and grief/loss issues is that groups are the best mode for support. There is nothing like being in conversation with other grieving people and experiencing a sense of connection when you have been feeling so alone.”
Those interested can join the group virtually any week on Zoom through the recurring link. Individuals who join the group are not required to participate in any particular way.
Servaty-Seib also serves as interim associate vice provost of teaching and learning within the Office of the Provost and as the associate dean for student life in the Honors College. She leads the University’s grief and loss research team.