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The Taboo Around Discussing Death Is Lifting

The coronavirus pandemic has heightened the sense of our own mortality with more people than ever thinking the unthinkable.

According to research by the funeral planning company Safe Hands, 30% of us are thinking more about our health and mortality.

Indeed, Google searches for the word “funeral” spiked in March with more than 60,000 searches compared with 22,000 a year ago.

A quarter of respondents who have either bought or are planning to buy a funeral plan cite global issues such as the coronavirus outbreak and climate change and the as the key prompt for their purchase.

In addition, one in five said they were spurred on to plan their funeral by the loss of a family member or friend, whilst 16% cited personal health conditions.

The vast majority (75%) felt that having a funeral plan in place would place less burden on their family during a difficult time.

Although most people still find it difficult to talk about death, 80% of those questioned would welcome a more open discussion around the subject, although almost half admit to avoiding the subject to avoid upsetting others.

Psychologist Dr David Lewis believes that a reluctance to talk about death is a form of repression which undermines our well-being while encouraging ignorance and needless anxieties.

“Acknowledging one’s own mortality makes one better appreciate every moment of being alive. It focuses the mind more clearly what is truly important what you really want to do and the people you truly want to spend your time with,” he said.

When asked what more they would like to achieve before they die, over half (53%) said they would like to visit another country and 22% wanted to learn a new skill. It seems, however, that only a few wanted to make up with someone they fell out with. Just 9 per cent wanted to bury the hatchet with former friends and a mere 8 per cent said they wanted to meet a new partner.

Tom Gormanly, CEO of Safe Hands, commented: “In these difficult times, it is not surprising more people are contemplating their mortality. It has never been an easy subject to discuss, but it seems the taboo is lifting.”