Awareness Week is an unparalleled opportunity to place the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement firmly on the national agenda. This year is the eighth Awareness Week. With each passing year, the week has grown in size and impact, with increasing numbers of people getting involved.
With 83% of the British population admitting they found talking about death and dying difficult, last year’s awareness week concentrated on ‘having the big conversation’ and why talking about death was so important. The 2016 campaign emphasised the difficulties we have in talking about and planning for death and offered guidance on how to improve the end-of-life experience for both themselves and their loved ones.
In 2016, the Dying Matters website saw record numbers of visitors to the website, and the hashtag #BigConversation was used over 16,000 times during the awareness week, a 73% increase on the hashtag used in 2015. As a result of greater awareness in 2016, this year’s Dying Matters Awareness is focused around ‘what can you do’ encouraging people to take five simple steps to plan for their end of life.
During Awareness Week, Dying Matters and coalition members host hundreds of events across England and Wales, reaching thousands of people. The events are bolstered by extensive media coverage, local, national and international.
There are lots of ideas for event you can hold for Awareness Week. Here are some that took place last year:
- Funeral home open days and cemetery tours
- Stalls in shopping centres and supermarkets, hospitals and hospices and even on buses
- Wills workshops
- Film screenings
- Talks on everything from Egyptian burial methods to laughter therapy
- “Healing” woodland walks and spiritual ceremonies.
- Coffee mornings
- Training sessions for carers, medical professionals and volunteers
- Twitter and Facebook campaigns
For further details visit http://www.dyingmatters.org/AwarenessWeek