Grief support and memorials
You are not alone
Each of us grieves in our own way. We hope that the information and support offered here will help you through your difficult time. Support on campus includes student grief dinners, counselling, academic advising, support groups, spiritual care, counselling and memorial creation.
Some supports are just for students, while others are open to students, staff and faculty.
Grief support for students
If you are experiencing emotional or psychological problems or difficulties, you may want to consider counselling through U of T’s Health & Wellness. Counselling can help you clarify issues, better understand your emotions, relationships and responses, and deal effectively with challenges.
You may find you need an academic deferral to help you through your time of grieving. Undergraduate students should first contact their registrar's office by email and inform them of the situation. You may also wish to notify your professors or TAs. Graduate students should contact their professors and the graduate coordinator in their department.
Grief support sharing circles
“If you experience grief too much, it can well redouble” – Molière
Everyone grieves in his or her own unique way. When someone you love dies, you may feel angry, isolated, sad, guilty or lonely. The grief support sharing circle is an informal drop-in mutual support group for students who have experienced a death, as well as students experiencing anticipatory grief. Refreshments provided.
PLEASE NOTE: Grief support events have ended for 2015/2016 and will begin again fall 2016/winter 2017. Dates TBA.
The Campus Chaplains Association (CCA) is a multi-faith organization whose chaplains help make connections between an intellectual understanding of spirituality and living the reality of faith. Chaplains can offer spiritual care in times of grief and perform rites of passage including funerals and memorials.
Memorial service creation
Read our document on best practices for creating a Memorial Service (attached).
Online memorial creation
The Multi-Faith Centre offers a place where memorials can be created for current U of T students, staff, or faculty that have passed away, similar to a guest book at a funeral (please see below).
Grief support group
The U of T Family Care Office often coordinates a bereavement support group facilitated by trained peer support volunteers from Bereaved Families of Ontario –Toronto. Call 416-978-0951 or email email@example.com to find out if this group will be offered this year.
Community bereavement resources and groups
Bereaved Families of Toronto
Bereaved Families of Ontario-Toronto is a volunteer based bereavement support organization that provides programs and services based on a mutual support model to individuals, families, groups and communities throughout the city of Toronto. This program is free of charge.
Survivor Support Program
Through the Toronto Distress Centre, the Survivor Support Program provides support for adults who have lost someone due to suicide or other forms of violent death. This program is free of charge.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network
PAIL Network is a registered Canadian charity committed to making a positive difference to those affected by pregnancy and infant loss. This program is free of charge.
Wellspring is a network of community-based cancer support centres. It offers a specialized bereavement program and some individual support services for those who have lost a loved on to cancer. This program is free of charge.
Counselling (for faculty and staff only)
The Employee and Family Assistance Program is a confidential information, counselling and referral service. The service is provided by Family Services Employee Assistance Programs and their staff of experienced psychologists and social workers. All services provided through this program are paid for by U of T. Immediate access to professional counsellors is available by phone at 1-800-668-9920. If face-to-face counselling is needed, an appointment will be scheduled. You can also arrange for telephone or web-based counselling.