Die Well Essex: join the photo conversation that celebrates life

People across Basildon and Brentwood are being asked to celebrate life by sharing their favourite images of friends, family or pets who have died in a bid to start conversations about why dying matters.

The online campaign, called Die Well Essex, is being supported by Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group and other health, social care, charities and voluntary groups across Essex in the lead up to Dying Matters awareness week from 8-14 May.

Using Instagram, people are being encouraged to share their favourite images of people, places or things that celebrate life as well as acknowledging the reality of death.

It is hoped the social media campaign will start hundreds of conversations about why dying matters and help signpost people to the support and services available locally.

Dr Elizabeth Towers, Macmillan GP for Mid Essex CCG, said: “We’re looking for photos of places where people have felt happiest before dying or images of people and things that celebrate life in the face of death. It doesn’t have to be gloomy, although for some people the right image will contain sadness.

“At the same time as sharing these pictures, we’re looking to start conversations about what people in the community can do to plan for dying and how people can support others in times of grief and bereavement.

“Caring for people at the end of life is often the most difficult and overwhelming experience but talking about it and planning for dying can take a lot of the anxiety away.

“As part of the wide network of health and care services supporting people to live and die well, it’s important to raise the profile of dying and to share experiences.”

Dr Gytha Clear Hill, Macmillan GP for Basildon and Brentwood, added. “I know some people wouldn’t wish to share personal photos on-line. However, I would encourage everyone, whatever their age or state of health, to talk about dying, death and bereavement and planning ahead.”

The online campaign will support the key theme of this year’s national Dying Matters awareness week – What Can You Do? – see http://www.dyingmatters.org/ for more information.

People can share images via their own Instagram account – all that is needed is a sentence on what the picture represents along with #DieWellEssex or tagging @DieWellEssex

Join in with the conversation in the lead up to, and during Dying Matters Week 8-14 May, on Twitter @DieWellEssex or by searching Die Well Essex on Facebook.

Basildon and Brentwood CCG is also asking people to support the campaign by joining an Essex-wide Thunderclap using the following link http://midessexccg.nhs.uk/livewell/diewell/join-the-thunderclap.

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