I would like to thank author and reporter Michelle Griffith and the students she interviewed for sharing their feelings in last week’s Minnesota Daily article, “‘I am not alone’: UMN students’ silent grief." I think the article pointed out a position on the spectrum of student mental health that we don’t think about very often — grief.
I felt compelled to write not only because I served as a funeral director for 35 years and have a basic understanding of grief, but 42 years ago on Easter weekend my father suffered a fatal heart attack during my freshman year on the University of Minnesota campus. I could feel myself in your article.
I remember returning to campus after the funeral and having a hard time concentrating during the final month of the school calendar. I understand how difficult it can be to function at a high level under the emotion of grief.
I am delighted to hear that the Student Counseling Services now provides facilitators for weekly group counseling sessions, although I also understand that there is a waiting list for many to get into these groups. Because this article brought this issue to my attention, one of my first items of business when I return to campus will be talking to my colleagues about how we can eliminate this wait-list and discuss what other options we may be able to provide for grieving students.
Thomas Anderson is a member of the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents.
This letter has been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.