There is a poignancy of these two awareness weeks happening at the same time – the subject of death can also have an impact on our mental health. This year’s theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2019 is ‘Are We Ready?’ which we think goes hand in hand with opening up conversations not only about the end of life but also mental health.
Myton is as much a place for living as it is for having a good death...
but when you are diagnosed with a terminal or life limiting illness you can feel you are being presented with your own mortality. It isn’t easy to comprehend, and your mental health can suffer dramatically.
We spoke to...
James Parker, who is a Clinical Psychologist at Myton, about his thoughts on whether there was a link between being prepared and mental health:
Making arrangements and discussing wishes for funerals, wills, and having conversations about end of life wishes can be uncomfortable and difficult, and people can often put off having them.
However, having these discussions early on can mean patients, and their relatives and loved ones, don’t have to worry about having them further down the line when they may be more unwell or have other priorities. Research has suggested that having these discussions earlier on can lead to a better quality of life for patients and their relatives, whilst also leaving relatives with less regret, and at lower risk of depression! (Wright et al. 2008)
Everyone who accesses Myton’s services is given the opportunity to consider Advanced Care Planning. Everyone’s priorities are different, and having them documented can have a positive impact on a patient’s mental health as well as that of their loved ones.
Not everyone chooses to have these conversations because they may find it has a negative impact on their mental wellbeing, and this is important for staff at Myton to respect as well.