Counselors available at any time to help U of U students cope with deaths of classmates

Sep 29, 2021, 8:41 PM | Updated: 8:45 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Sports is supposed to be an escape from the real world.

Cheering on your favorite team and athletes should be a break from all the things in life we worry about.

However, sometimes even sports can be a reminder life is tough.

“Each of us are going to have our own individual reactions,” said Dr. Lauren Weitzman.

Weitzman is the director of the Counseling Center at the University of Utah.

After the deaths of five students at the University of Utah in the past five years, she knows it can be difficult for some students to process what happened.

“There’s no one right way to feel or react,” said Dr. Weitzman. “Each of us are going to have our own individual reactions based on all sorts of different things, including whether your life has personally been affected by other traumas or if you knew these students.”

Three of those five students who died were athletes.

Track runner Lauren McCluskey was murdered in 2018.

Football players Ty Jordan was killed in an accidental shooting last year and Aaron Lowe was shot and killed during a house party this past weekend.

Hearing of their deaths can be difficult for students at a time in their lives when it is easy to feel invincible.

“I think that is what is most unsettling when these kinds of unexpected traumatic events happen, especially in the context of the college experience,” said Dr. Weitzman. “Certainly, those of us who have been on the University of Utah campus the past five years, part of our community has experienced some significant campus tragedy.”

Dr. Weitzman says it’s important for students to try and focus on their normal routines of going to classes and studying.

Sometimes, though, that’s not enough.

“As I said before, if students are just having a hard time bouncing back and focusing on classes and still feeling kind of emotionally off, we really encourage people to reach out,” said Dr. Weitzman.

There are several resources students can access that are free of charge when it comes to feeling safe and with mental health assistance.

“We do find that many of today’s college students feel more comfortable and have access to resources,” said Dr. Weitzman.

You can also call the University of Utah Counseling Center at 801-581-6826 or visit their office in the Student Services Building, room 426, and ask to speak to a crisis counselor.

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Counselors available at any time to help U of U students cope with deaths of classmates