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Adults with learning disabilities discuss death in NHS Somerset film

Adults with learning disabilities discuss death in NHS Somerset film
By Julie Griffiths
3 May 2024

A film made by and featuring adults with learning disabilities has been launched by NHS Somerset to mark Dying Matters Week, which runs 5-12 May.

The film – We Need to Talk About Death – was made by biggerhouse film with a group of adults with learning disabilities from My Day Care Services .

It aims to address the taboos that often arise when talking about death and dying to reflect this year’s theme of Dying Matters Week, which is the importance of having frank conversations on the topic.

The film hopes to encourage open conversations about death and dying between those with learning disabilities and their carers, friends and family.

The actors participated in a series of workshops to develop the storylines for the film and also acted in the film.

Rachel Donne-Davis, local area lead at NHS Somerset’s Learning from Lives and Deaths (LeDeR) programme, commissioned the film and said people with learning disabilities were often protected from conversations about death and dying.

As a consequence, it was often difficult for people to talk about what was important to them in terms of death, dying and bereavement, she said.

‘We wanted to work with a group of people with learning disabilities to identify what was important to them and encourage others to start a conversation,’ said Ms Donne-Davis.

‘We believe this film will be a powerful resource for everyone, not just people with learning disabilities, to encourage them to engage with what can be a really difficult subject,’ she said.

The film covers issues such as why people avoid talking about death, alternative words for death and dying, and what people would like to do before they die.

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