good life, good death, good grief


Demystifying Death Week takes place across Scotland

Demystifying Death Week takes place this week (10-16 May), shining a light on death, dying and bereavement in Scotland.


People usually want to do the right thing when someone they know is caring, dying or grieving. But often they can feel awkward offering help, or worry about making things worse.

People can have questions about serious illness or death. But often they don't know who to ask.

Making plans when you’re healthy means there is less to think about when you’re ill. But often people put off making plans until it is too late.

Demystifying Death week is about giving people knowledge, skills and opportunities to plan and support each other through death, dying, loss and care.

Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief

The week was initiated by Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief – a charity-led collaboration of more than 1000 individuals and organisations that want Scotland to be a place where people can be open about and plan for death, dying and bereavement.

“If people know a bit more about death and dying, they’re in a better position to take control of their own situation, support others, make plans and have informed decisions about what they’d want when the time comes.” said Rebecca Patterson, Director of Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief.

“Sometimes people worry about things, like what to say to someone who’s been bereaved, or being refused CPR. Perhaps having more information about these could help people worry less.

“There are lots of resources out there that provide information, but sometimes it is difficult to know where to look. We want to make this information easier for people to get at, and we’ll sharing a lot of it this week using the hashtag #DemystifyDeath.”

This will include information on the kinds of preparations people can make if they are worried their health may get worse, for example by making a Power of Attorney and talking to the people close to them about an anticipatory care plan. They will also be sharing tips on how ordinary people can provide informal support to a friend or family member who is caring, dying or grieving, and places people can go for more formal support.

New short films

The week sees the launch of six short films, each aiming to demystify a different aspect of death, dying or bereavement. The ‘60 second shorts’ tackle head-on questions such as ‘What do children want to know about death?’, ‘How can I support a young person who’s bereaved?’ and ‘How might someone’s breathing change when they are dying?’.


As well as an online media campaign, various online events are taking place during the week, for example, Say Something Dundee has plans for a Conversation Café, inviting locals to join in a relaxed, informal discussion around local experiences of death, dying, loss and care. The Compassionate Friends invites people to Say their name, to learn more about how to support parents and siblings who have been bereaved. A community in North Berwick will be welcoming community members to an online Armchair Chat, with a combination of music, discussion and input from Kathryn Mannix, author of the book With the end in mind.

A full list of events is available here:

“We’re often told that death is a ‘taboo’ – something that people don’t want to talk about.’ said Rebecca Patterson, Director of GLGDGG. ‘But surveys show that in Scotland most people are actually fairly comfortable talking about death. Perhaps the right opportunities just don’t present themselves. Demystifying Death week is a chance to open up about death, air these topics and become a bit better at supporting each other through these difficult times.”

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Bereavement Charter for Scotland