New grief support group; don’t go through it alone


Graphic by Cash Lee

It’s important for people to have a way to deal with those emotions and have someone they can rely on for support. Simpson’s campus has recently added a group to do just that.

by Cash Lee, Staff Reporter

Grief is a feeling that can come in many different forms for many different reasons. Everyone will experience the feeling sometime in their lives and you don’t always know when it will be. The loss of a loved one can drastically change your life and possibly leave you feeling lost. 

That’s why it’s important for people to have a way to deal with those emotions and have someone they can rely on for support. Simpson’s campus has recently added a group to do just that. The new grief support group is facilitated by Chaplain Mara Bailey and Counselor Ana Davis-Evans. 

If you’re struggling with something and not sure if the group is right for you, just know that all students are welcome regardless of their situation. “We’re looking to help students dealing with a loss in their life. To us, a loss could mean losing a parent, a sibling, significant other, or even a pet,” Bailey said. Students are welcome no matter how long ago they lost a loved one or how far into the grieving process they are. 

There are important steps people need to take when dealing with grief, and, according to, psychologists have recently started to shift away from telling people to “let go” of the deceased and instead advise people to try “continuing bonds.”

This involves multiple steps, including accepting the reality of the loss, working through the grief, adjusting to a world without the loved one and finally, finding a connection with the deceased while starting a new life. The amount of time each of those takes varies from person to person because everyone will deal with grief differently. 

Working through the feeling of grief is one of the most difficult parts, and that’s what the grief support group is here for. “We try to prepare them by giving them the language to deal with grief, help them to plan for things ahead like anniversaries, allow them to give an update on how they are feeling now compared to when they came previously, and anything else they need or want to discuss,” Bailey said. 

Bailey has been involved in other grief support groups at Simpson that saw success, and her work as a chaplain has given her valuable experience with how grief can affect someone and how to help them manage it. Davis-Evans has also had prior experience with support groups, and seeing how powerful they can be inspired her to reach out to Bailey last fall to talk about offering a group here. 

From a professional standpoint, grief groups have a long history of being useful and there is a large body of evidence to support the effectiveness of the psychoeducation and connection in a time of loss,” Davis-Evans said. 

The group is considered a “growth group” which means the purpose of meeting is for members to grow together. The counselor is there to offer students psychoeducation about grief, but the largest aspect of the group is peer connection.

“Students come to this group to share with their peers more so than myself and Mara [Bailey]. Mara and I exist as the support to make possible said connections between peers and to offer guidance and support when appropriate,” Davis-Evans said. 

The grief support group is confidential and the facilitators like to use the phrase, “Stories stay, lessons leave.” This ensures that students can be open and honest with peers which will speed up the healing process.

The group has scheduled meetings this spring on March 7, March 28 and April 11. Information about the group has been sent out via the Campus Pulse, and new updates will be found there roughly every two weeks. 

If you have any questions about the group, get in contact with Mara Bailey or Ana Davis-Evans.