A national annual campaign to raise awareness of dying, death and bereavement has taken on greater significance this year in the wake of the tens of thousands of victims of COVID-19.

The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week (May 11th to 17th) is ‘Dying To Be Heard’: how do we respond when someone wants to discuss death, or grief, or their will or funeral plans with us?

It’s too easy to dodge that conversation with a joke or a “maybe later”. But we know it’s hard for people to talk about death and the practical aspects of getting ready for it. So when someone wants to talk about death, we owe it to them to be the other half of that conversation. If they want to talk, we need to listen.

This year’s campaign is focusing on how to help by listening. How many people want to talk about death, but feel they have no one to talk to about it? How many people are Dying To Be Heard?

Dying Matters has some tips on active listening, and reassures people that you don’t need to be an expert on wills, funerals or advance care planning; the Dying Matters website has signposts to all the relevant information.

There is a complete set of new leaflets free to download and a Pledge Wall where you can make a pledge for Awareness Week and see other peoples’ ideas. Download the main leaflet here.

Dying Matters is a national coalition set up in 2009 and led by Hospice UK (formerly the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC)) to support the implementation of the Department of Health’s End of Life Care Strategy.

For more information visit: dyingmatters.org/AwarenessWeek