Midlothian’s Health and Social Care Partnership wants us to talk more about death

A beer mat promoting 'to absent friends' week.
A beer mat promoting 'to absent friends' week.

Midlothian’s Health and Social Care Partnership is using ‘to absent friends’ week to encourage residents to be more open about death.

They’re championing ‘Good Grief’, with the aim of improving the experience of bereavement and reducing isolation. To absent friends, running from 1-7 November, is an annual festival of remembrance that gives people across Scotland the opportunity to remember, tell stories and celebrate the lives of people we love who have died.

Tracy McLeod, senior health promotion specialist for Midlothian believes that while talking about death can feel uncomfortable, being more open about it can be a good thing: “Death is happening all around us and it’s important we know how to help each other. As well as the more ‘official’ financial, social and emotional support available, sometimes there is nothing like a good conversation with a friend.

“If you know someone who is grieving, make the effort to find a quiet place where you can sit together to talk. Use the name of the person who has died, take time to listen to them and acknowledge their grief, and encourage them to seek help if they need it.

“Everyone grieves in their own way, and in their own time, but having a good conversation with someone who has lost a loved one can make the world of difference.”

Throughout ‘to absent friends’ week, the Partnership will be leading by example, encouraging colleagues to reminisce about loved ones they’ve lost with a tree of remembrance available at council headquarters. The Partnership hope it will inspire colleagues to have their own ‘good grief’ conversations.

See the Midlothian Council website for more information.