Dying Matters report Britons uncomfortable discussing bereavement

December 10, 2014   //   No Comments

Almost half of Britons (47%) say they would feel uncomfortable talking to someone who has been recently bereaved and significant numbers of bereaved people have experienced negative reactions to their grief, including people avoiding them and the loss of friendships according to a new study released by the Dying Matters Coalition.

Today’s ComRes research, released to coincide with the launch of ‘Being there’, a new Dying Matters campaign to support people with what to say and do after someone has been bereaved including over the Christmas period, finds that talking about bereavement remains a taboo for many people in Britain.  Although the majority of people surveyed (72%) knew someone who had been recently bereaved, one in four (26%) reported that they had not known what to say to them, and 40% only talked about it if the person who had been bereaved mentioned it first. One in ten (9%) said they had avoided talking about it with them and 4% said they had deliberately avoided seeing them.

The survey also found that the vast majority (84%) of those who have been bereaved in the past five years thought that people in Britain are uncomfortable talking to those who have recently been bereaved. Seven in ten of people who had been bereaved said talking about their loss helped them feel better, but one in five (21%) said they wanted to talk but could not find anyone to listen, and four in ten (43%) said that they tried not to talk about their loss as they didn’t want to upset anyone.

The findings come at what for many bereaved people can be an especially upsetting time. Almost half of those (45%) who have been bereaved in the past five years said that since somebody close to them died, Christmas has been a particularly difficult time of year.

The Dying Matters leaflet ‘Being There’ may be viewed here.