Talking about death and grief is literally a hobby of ours.

We knew we were in a minority, but we recently discovered the results of the UK’s largest ever survey about death which revealed just how “weird” we are.

The survey was commissioned by the Co-op and has been named ‘Making peace with death: National attitudes to death, dying and bereavement’. It reveals that young people aged 16-29 are the least comfortable talking about death. The same survey also revealed that most of us have had our first experience of bereavement by the age of 20.

If we ever needed statistical proof that podcasts like ours were necessary then this is it.


24% of 16-29 years olds keep bereavement to themselves and 36% would be least likely to talk about the person they’ve lost. Co-op Grief Survey May 2018

But even as we age we still find the conversation of death a difficult one to have; over a third of people in their 40s are still not comfortable talking about death.

But how can this be?? Death is one thing that every single person on this planet will encounter. Why are we so reluctant to talk about it?

There are of course a plethora of reasons why we avoid the convo. 24% of us don’t talk about death as we don’t want people to worry, there’s also the argument that life is hard enough as it is, without thinking about how it all might end – or how we’d cope losing someone close to us.;Refinery29.

Co-op said about the survey: “Being open about issues and actively talking about taboo topics has become more prevalent than ever within society. However, Co-op’s research found that when it comes to bereavement we’re still struggling to face up to it”.

Breaking through this taboo is part of our mission for the Dead Parent Club (DPC) Podcast.

We hope that by having frank, honest conversations about death and grief we can make it easier for others to do the same.

Unsurprisingly, men find it more difficult to talk about it than women do; 18% of men kept their bereavement to themselves versus 15% of women. This is why it’s important for us on the DPC podcast to ensure we have males on the show, too. Our recent conversations with Sam, Chris & Chris are some of my favourite episodes because of how vulnerable and honest they are. It’s amazing.

Many of our podcast guests have talked about the benefits of counselling following the death of their parent, however only 2% of people surveyed sought bereavement counselling. Every single one of our guests has said how important it is to talk through your grief, but less than half of those surveyed by Co-Op had talked about it to another person.

It’s not just the bereaved that can benefit either.

We have so many listeners that have not lost a parent. The number one question we get asked by this audience is what to say to a grieving friend. The survey results echo our usual sentiment. 41% of people surveyed said that the best thing someone else could do is to ask if they’re ok.

As a nation we’re prone to dropping a casual ‘how are you?’ ‘yeah good, you?’ ‘yeah good thanks’. But we rarely ask each other sincerely how we’re feeling.

Jo McCarthy, a bereavement supporter for Cruse Bereavement, recently spoke on BBC Radio Nottingham alongside my co-host Kathryn Hooker. She spoke about a conversation she had with a young woman she was supporting. “I asked her if her friends were supporting her, she said, ‘yes they ask if i’m ok… but I wish they would ask if I’m really ok’. There’s a lack of depth”.

Jo continued to tell BBC Nottingham host Mark Dennison that the DPC podcast fills a gap in providing a level of understanding for young people that are grieving that they may not be able to get elsewhere.

The survey confirms what we thought: that talking about death and grief is still as uncomfortable as ever, but the benefits of talking about it can be life changing.

You can listen to the Dead Parent Club Podcast via your podcast app or on our website.

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