Dr Kathryn Mannix has spent her medical career working with people who have incurable, advanced illnesses. Starting in cancer care and changing career to become a pioneer of the new discipline of palliative medicine, she has worked as a palliative care consultant in teams in hospices, hospitals and in patients’ own homes, optimising quality of life even as death is approaching. She is passionate about public education, and having qualified as a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist in 1993, she started the UK’s (possibly the world’s) first CBT clinic exclusively for palliative care patients, and devised ‘CBT First Aid’ training to enable palliative care colleagues to add new skills to their repertoire for helping patients.
I am on a mission to reclaim public understanding of dying.
I have helped to care for thousands of people at the very end of their lives and have seen first-hand the harm done by the Taboo of Death. Instead of dying, people ‘pass away’. They are not ‘dead’, but ‘late,’ ‘lost’ or ‘departed’.
It’s time to give each other permission to talk about death.
Confronting the process allows us to plan for and relate to our dearest people over the last part of their lives.
My weapon of choice for this campaign is stories.
These are stories about people who could have been your friend, your sister, your dad, your son. These are stories about how dying people embrace living not because they are unusual or brave, but because that’s what humans do. These are stories about normal humans, dying normal human deaths, and they offer us illumination, models for action, and hope.