Talking about dying

How we talk about dying matters

Opening up honest conversations about death and dying is important, but we know it’s not easy. Taking our lead from Hospice UK, we’ve created a hub of resources from our Wellbeing and Just ‘B’ teams to help you reflect and get started.

Watch Jacqui and Vanessa chat about language when talking about death

Our Wellbeing Team members share their reflections in this short video.

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Transcript for "talking about language" video

Vanessa: "I think language is changing. You know we're talking about it more openly.

It is easier to use the words 'death' and 'dying' than ‘passed away’. But again, we listen to the people we're supporting. You know, what kind of language are they using.

We subconsciously already talk about death and dying. Looking at your insurances, your life insurances, your critical insurances. We’re making plans about that. You know, updating your driving license, ticking whether you want to come off the donor register.

So quite naturally, we’re having conversations subconsciously but we don’t necessarily link it all together.

So I think ‘death’ and ‘dying’- we speak to people in our role as well, we’re quite open in using them words because they’re the words the professionals use as well.

It’s the reality really of what’s happening.

The terminology we used as children as well. Animals- we would say ‘it has died’ or ‘my dog has died’ rather than my dog has ‘passed on’ or ‘passed away’.”

Jacqui: “It’s about breaking down taboos isn’t it, having more honest conversations.”

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Free language guide

Download our suggestions for phrases to use when talking about dying

Wellbeing drop-ins

Our free Wellbeing Drop In is a safe open space to ask any questions you may have about death, grief or anything that’s on your mind over a cuppa.

Join us Friday May 10, 10.30-12pm.

Tanya's story

“If I could share anything with families in similar positions, it would be to have honest conversations and ask questions at every stage. This has made a big difference to our family."

Read Tanya's story

Graham's story

“At Saint Michael’s, I feel really looked after and that I will have the best death I could have.

A lot of people don’t want to talk about dying but doing so has really helped me. I’ve got a choice here. I’m not worrying about it now. I’ve accepted it."

Read Graham's story

Talking to children about death

How should you refer to someone who has died when speaking to young people? Which phrases should you use? Why is it important to be honest with children about death? Watch Alex from our Just ‘B’ bereavement support team share some ideas and explore more on Just ‘B’s own talking about dying page.

View a transcript for this video.

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We recognise that reflections like these can sometimes bring with them a range of emotions. If you’re affected by any of these topics, feel free to contact our caring Just ‘B’ Hear to Help team. Phone (01423 856 799), text (01423 200 118) or email helplines@justb.org.uk. Leave your contact number and our team will call you back within 1-5 working hours.

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