Dying Matters Awareness Week

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Health Assured team

07 May 2024

Dying Matters Awareness week aims to encourage conversations about death and dying to increase awareness, reduces stigma, and supports vulnerable people.

The Awareness week also aims to focus on the connection and discussions held between patients, healthcare professional, carers, and families to safeguard mental health. The week encourages communities to come together to support those who are experiencing grief, individuals who are preparing for the end of their life, and to end the stigma surrounding death.

Dying Matters Awareness Week commences on the 6th of May and the focused theme of this year is the way we talk about dying matters. This year’s theme emphasises the language that is used in conversations about death and dying, focusing on keeping language simple and respectful.

Dying Matters Awareness

At some point in our life, it is likely that we will go through the loss of a loved one and face death ourselves. This can fill our world full of dread, fear, confusion, and plummet us into a deep sadness, negatively affecting our mental health.

Starting a conversation about dying is never easy, but everyone should be open and able to discuss death and dying to support those who need it the most.

It’s true that you may never be able to recover from the death of a loved one or be able to face the preparation of your death. Yet, being able to have honest and open conversations about death and dying can ease anxieties, boost understanding, reduce stigma, and prepares people for the inevitability of death.

Importance of speaking about death


Regardless of how someone handles the loss of a loved one, it is important for them to talk about their grief. It supports the individual in working through complicated and confusing emotions and feelings, so they are better able to process their emotions and support their mental health.


Talking about death or dying can be difficult for many people, but it’s a necessary in facing fear. Fear of death stems from the fear of the unknown and we can combat this by talking more and feeling more comfortable when death is a topic of conversation.

Talking about death ease anxieties about dying because the person is better able to understand it.


When we talk about preparing for death, we have a better understanding of what arrangements people who are facing death want for funerals, finances, pets, and much more.

Talking about death allows wishes to be understood and correctly carried out, bringing peace of mind to individuals who are worried about dying, how that will affect the people around them, their finances, and their assets.


Talking about death isn’t easy and can be hard to bring up, especially when someone is experiencing grief. Stigmatization of discussing death from social pressures and judgement makes it difficult to start a conversation. We can see this especially when someone dies under circumstances, such as addition and suicide.

When death is stigmatized, it adds another layer of hurt and confusion, prolonging the pain for the grieving individual, encouraging them to keep their emotions to themselves, and subsequently leading to poor mental health.

We can challenge this stigma by having and encouraging conversations surrounding death and dying.

Encouraging communities and people to talk about death slowly supresses this stigmatization, so people can deal with bereavement safely without risking their mental health.


Speaking our truth is the first step in acceptance and peace of mind. This is reflected when we cope with grief, death or dying. By having conversations about death we can feel accepted, less stigmatized and understood, leading to feelings of ease and calm. Find out about the Health Assured Bereavement Support and Counselling and Advice

How to boost conversations about death and dying?

  1. Encourage but don’t push

Encourage grieving individuals to talk about their experience and express how they feel, but don’t push them. If they are not ready to talk, it could be more harmful.

Inform them of the benefits of talking about grief, let them know you are there, and that you are there to support them. Create opportunities to talk about the death but make sure the individual is in a safe environment and are able to fully express their feelings should they take you up on the conversation.

  1. Language

Language is powerful. Using complex language may overwhelm, confuse, and upset the individual. Use simple and respectful language that makes the person feel at ease whilst talking with you. This leads to more conversations and better understanding of their mental health.

  1. Talk-face-to-face

Talking face-to-face is comforting to people and feels a lot more personable. The individual may be more open to talk if they are talking in person.

Take them to a private, safe, and quiet space away from others with no distractions. This should be away from any screens, including phones and televisions, so you can focus on supporting them and they can focus on expressing and processing their feelings.

  1. Listen openly and honestly

Listening to someone whilst they are expressing their feelings about death and dying is vital, it creates feelings of being understood and comfortable.

Responding to someone who is dealing with grief isn’t easy, so give yourself time, use engaged body language, be respectful, and stay calm.

Find out more

Dying Matters is a campaign run by the charity, Hospice UK. To find out more please visit the Hospice UK website.

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