In 2014 – 16 CEDAR ran a project developing a death education programme for bereaved young people who had developed anti-social, self-harming, or low self-esteem issues related to their losses. Authored by Dr Judith Wester and Kathryn Walker, we published a research paper which can be downloaded from this page.
The objectives of this research were to ascertain and record the value of educating young people on the topic of death and discover whether or not there is a perception that death education could improve communication around a death or bereavement within an individual’s peer group, family, and/or community. Another objective was to determine what benefits death education might have on the individual. In addition, we aimed to explore the gaps in this area of education; and if, when and how it is being taught.We wanted to know if people had heard about death education and whether they thought it would be a beneficial subject for young people to study. Most significantly, we wanted to know what kind of benefits might be perceived from taking such a course.
Supported by the Office of Police & Crime Commissioner of West Mercia (OPCC) and the NHS Young Health Champion Scheme (YHC), the Life Lessons programme raised questions around whether or not death education for young people would be beneficial; at what age it should be taught; whether or not it should be done in or out of schools; and what the Shropshire public thought about death education in general. In order to find out the answers, research was funded by Healthwatch Shropshire (HWS) to explore these questions. The research paper outlines the three-part study and presents the outcomes with recommendations regarding death education for young people going forward.