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The Impact of Death in the Community

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Every day, someone dies, death is permanent, and no one can come back from it. Death is an unavoidable aspect of life. Everyone will encounter death in various ways throughout their life, but every death has unique effects on others within a community. According to the Oxford Dictionary death is the action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person. Death impacts an individual’s mental health. There are seven stages linked to death that represent an individual’s grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing and acceptance.

To further investigate the impact of death on individuals and their community, three sub questions have been developed.

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  • What does someone go through when a loved one dies?
  • How is the stigma attached to death impacted by its representation in the media?
  • How does a celebrity’s death influence fans wellbeing?

What does someone go through when a loved one dies?

Losing a loved one has many effects on an individual. When a person loses a loved one It either effects them mentally and or physically (KidSpot, 2017). The death of a loved one tends to make an individual, enter a deep sadness which may even lead to depression. Happiness is deprived leading to a focus on the loss which prompts an extreme longing for the loved one. Leading to a need to withdrawal or detachment from family, friends and other types of social activities, which could suggest a distrust of others may arise, ultimately causing trouble maintaining the mandatory daily routine. The worst mental impact the death of a loved one may have on someone is the belief that life has no meaning or purpose. Physical impacts may consist of, general tiredness and extreme fatigue at times. Random pains and aches such as stress headaches. An inability to sit still, loss of hair due to stress which may lead to muscle weakness and a loss of appetite or the complete opposite; comfort eating.

Observing results of a survey conducted on teenagers, it became evident that majority of them have already experienced losing a loved one. To obtain a better insight into how someone copes with losing a love one an interview was organised with one of the participants of another survey which was handed out to individuals over the age of 18 and that have become ready to speak about their experiences. Janna Yang is a prime example as she lost her father to cancer when she was 24. She realised that his death was not just affecting her mentally it was also affecting her physically. Dealing with death is a process one that may take years or even decades to finalise. Everyone processes death differently Yang’s brother did not go through as much pain as her, but he knew exactly what she had been through. After discovering that everyone processes death differently, it lifted a weight off her shoulders meaning that all the seconding guessing about thoughts, feelings and actions was okay as everyone has their own personal journey they must endure.

As Yang mentioned everyone processes differently. Many who lose friends or loved ones experience several stages of grief as they deal with their loss. Psychologist Penny Janis who has worked with individuals as they grieved noticed the ways that people cope, that there are some commonalities including distinct stages such as denial, anger and depression (BetterHelp,2018). But These stages are not simply about the grief of someone dying but rather something extremely different. Most people associate the word ‘grief’ with the sorrow that surrounds the death of a loved one. Individuals go through several stages when a loved one is lost. They may experience them in any order and any number of times. Yang felt sad at the beginning, then moved onto anger, and then returned to feeling sad. The crucial thing to remember is to take time when grieving and that the grieving process is unique for everyone.

the stages of grief are not only related to people who have lost someone but also to people who are dying. Dr. Kübler-Ross is an author of a book that explores the stages of death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Dr. Kübler-Ross interviewed terminally ill patients and discussed how impending death affects a person. She also wrote about how the patient, their family, and loved one’s cope with the loss.

In general, death either effects an individual mentally or physically. Losing a loved one can cause a lot of harm to people mentally they get in depressive states and they might get so depressed that they might harm themselves physically. Many tend to not understand that processing through death is different for everyone and that they may show how they feel while some may burry it and try to keep busy trying to not have to process through it at all.

How is the stigma attached to death impacted by the media?

Even though it happens daily death is a taboo subject which is not encouraged to be discussed in public (Sarah Rose, 2018) . However, today the media, desensitises death whether they are trying to ensure that all individuals who may prefer to ignore it understand that it is a part of life. The rise of social media in the past decade has also improved the stigma associated with death, when someone is affected by someone’s passing they can share a post expressing their affection and feelings to their entire friend list exposing them to death and how it affects others. Television series and movies tend to explore the negative plethora of emotions associated with death and may encounter angry individuals who believe that these types of show should not be aired or exist, a prime of example of this is ‘13 Reasons Why’ when it first aired last year, Netflix received thousands of angry letters, schools sent letters home alerting parents of this show to keep it away from students. Comedies are being made around the topic of death, trying to numb the negatives and ensure that individuals are fully aware and accepting of the fact that death is natural; a way of life.

What are the impacts of a Celebrity death on fans?

According to former Professor of Counselling David Kapan when it comes to grief there are no rules (David Kapan,2017) therefore a celebrity death whom we may have never met can have such a profound response on their fans. Kaplan explained that since we grow up with these people in the media, in the cinema and listen to them on the radio, that it has caused our minds to create a familiar relationship with them. In a sense because of this they become a part of the family, especially the ones that we are fond of. So, when they die it feels like an extended family member has sadly passed, because of their fame and profound status it feels as if an individual knows them. Especially in the age of digital media, these feelings are then only intensified by the outpour of tributes from fellow fans, news outlets, family and other celebrities.

The passing of a celebrity who was admired, whose life was everywhere to be seen, also automatically creates a familiar connection, (David,Kaplan 2017) When prompted, most of us can remember exactly where we were when we heard Michael Jackson died. Kiefer Dean was on the couch watching the news as it was being reported. While Donna Gordge was getting ready for work.


Inconclusion death is an unescapable component of life, which impacts everyone differently. People who have lost a loved one or are soon to die will progress through the seven stages of grief where they experience great a variety of pain until they make onto the last stage; acceptance. However, the progress is unique for everyone which may take some decades to finally process and accept death while on the other handsome may only require years. Celebrities deaths have a profound effect on their fans because of the media, as they immerse themselves with the public almost giving the feeling of familiarity essentially making them extended family to their fans. Because of this when some celebrities die entire communities get negatively effected by the news of the death. The way death is presented on screen has desensitized the topic spreading awareness of how it impacts everyone sooner or later and the importance of recognising that it often affects everyone uniquely and that no one should be ashamed or dishearten by the way they cope with the passing of a loved one. However, some individuals are still not ready to discuss this topic in the media and believe that it should be kept private. Unfortunately many teenagers have already experienced losing a loved one, and some still have not fully overcome it prompting the realisation that if death is to be discussed on media formats it should explicitly express the message that everyone goes through losing someone and that it okay to take as long as required to process it.

The topic of death in the community, I believe was associated with the capabilities: Ethical understanding and the personal and social capability. This made me be aware of which one I should select, as I began my research and limited planning for this assignment, it made me self-aware that the personal and social capability should be chosen. After selecting it was straight away that I started developing as in the research it was brought up that death happens every day, now this was not surprising to me as there are several billions of people on this planet what shocked me was that there is a possibility of someone whom is close to me may pass away. And I believe that made this entire assignment personal to me in that perspective. In the survey and interview that was assessing the topic of death and asking personal questions about the experiencing losing a loved one it was very important to come off as neutral and try to minimise the possible negative sounding questions that may have caused someone to feel negative.

During the assignment I needed discuss with classmates to help understand how I could approach this investigation and see if there were any originations that I could contact or professional who deal observe the affects of death daily. Fully Acknowledging that they may be so desensitised about this delicate topic allowing me to be more causal while contacting them.


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