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College Student Grief Awareness Day – April 20, 2023

College Student Grief Awareness Day is celebrated on April 20 this year. Every year, the third Thursday of April is set aside for this national awareness day created to recognize college students, their struggles, and the toll it takes on their mental health. According to statistics, at least one in every five U.S. college students suffers from grief or depression considering the constant pressure they face. This holiday raises awareness of that and encourages conversation on ways to improve the situation.

History of College Student Grief Awareness Day

Psychological issues and pathologies haven’t always been well understood. Although depressive disorders are well documented nowadays, college student grief is generally considered a recent development with several distinctions identified.

The earliest mention of depression as we understand it today can be traced back to the mid-19th century. French psychiatrist Louis La Siauve is by far one of the earliest scholars to study depression as a psychiatric symptom. Throughout the 20th century, the classification of psychological disorders and symptoms saw constant development, evolving into several subclasses. Later on, depression amongst youths and adolescents started gaining the interest of academics and researchers. Students, in particular, suffered the most, considering the pressures of academics and, in some cases, personal grief.

As of the late ‘90s and early 2000s, depression and grief among university students became a more documented issue. Recent studies show that 44% of university students in America suffer grief-related issues, particularly depression. This has inspired many initiatives on the issue. The Actively Moving Forward (A.M.F.) group began as a student group in 2004, organizing support groups for college students to help them cope with personal grief and depression. The group has helped over 2000 students across several universities in the United States. A.M.F. created College Student Grief Awareness Day in 2015 to get people talking about the issue.

College Student Grief Awareness Day timeline

1930s
The First Depression Diagnostics Schemes

The first clear criteria for an official diagnosis of depression are developed.

2004
The Founding of A.M.F.

Actively Moving Forward is founded by David Fajgenbaum, following the death of his mother Anne Marie.

2015
The First Awareness Celebration

College Student Grief Awareness Day is organized for the first time by A.M.F.

2017
A.M.F. Heal Grief Programs

A.M.F. joins an international network of support groups and education programs aimed at helping students and people suffering from grief and depression.

College Student Grief Awareness Day FAQs

How does grief affect a student?

The onset of grief in a college student shows an inability to deal with pressure. Grieving and depressed students tend to feel overwhelmed by school work, and it ultimately affects their engagement.

What are the causes of grief in students?

While personal loss is one of the most common causes, mental health-related issues are also factors. The first year in college can be an overwhelming experience, especially because the new students are particularly vulnerable at this stage.

How do you deal with grief?

There are many ways to deal with grief, most of which are personal. However, it can often be helpful to seek help from friends, or even professionals. Most campuses have a student counselor or psychologist on staff, so don’t be afraid to consult them.

How to Observe College Student Grief Awareness Day

  1. Help college students

    College students are some of the most vulnerable groups of people. Not only are they often in dire financial situations, but they are also constantly under mental pressure. Helping college students on this special day is the most appropriate way to observe it.

  2. Read about the issue

    As a rarely documented issue, information on grief and depression amongst young people, college students especially, can often be elusive. Luckily, several breakthroughs have been made lately. Understanding the nuances of the issue by reading about it is the first step in helping college students with their plight.

  3. Attend and participate in events

    Several universities across the U.S. will organize events, panel discussions, performances, and many more, during this annual observance day. Local support groups, community members, and other organizations will have their own events. Make sure to attend a couple and participate in the activities that will have some impact on the issue.

5 Facts You Should Know About Student Depression

  1. It affects many people

    According to statistics, at least one in every six college students is suffering from depression or grief.

  2. A common cause of death

    Suicide due to depression is the second most common cause of death amongst college and university students.

  3. The first year

    The earliest symptoms of depression in a college student almost always appear in their first year, which molds much of their outlook for the rest of their study period.

  4. The causes are elusive

    Depression sometimes has no apparent causes and can remain even after any identifiable cause ceases.

  5. No visible symptoms

    Depression and grief can often show no visible symptoms, and sufferers rarely seek support or professional help.

Why College Student Grief Awareness Day is Important

  1. Grief is an important issue

    The number of college students suffering from depression and other mental health issues seems to be increasing. Despite the numerous initiatives and breakthroughs made during the last few years, more effort is still needed.

  2. More cases in universities

    As depression and related issues become increasingly noticeable in colleges, they’ve become an unaccommodating place to be. It is apparent that several aspects of the university system need to be reshaped, and this holiday creates the necessary attention for making that happen.

  3. Student life is a mess

    The university stage is one of the most vulnerable periods of one’s life. Between the pressures of academics and anxiety about the transition into the professional world after graduation, it can be daunting for anyone. This is the major reason why depression amongst university students is an urgent issue.

College Student Grief Awareness Day dates

YearDateDay
2022April 21Thursday
2023April 20Thursday
2024April 18Thursday
2025April 17Thursday
2026April 16Thursday

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