Private Thoughts - End of Life (September 2023)

2 Minutes Read

Private Thoughts is an initiative to create a way to share inner thoughts on sensitive topics that are traditionally difficult to research.  This is possible by using the latest in Conversational AI technology to engage with a large group of people about sensitive topics.  By talking with a non-judgmental and inquisitive chatbot people can openly and safely discuss their private thoughts, without fear of judgement or repercussion.

This latest Private Thoughts study is about the end of life - death and dyingFor this edition, we partnered with Violet, a national not-for-profit organisation, providing information and support to help everyone in Australia navigate the last stages of life and the grief and loss that accompanies it. The research reveals that over a two-year period, 53% of Australians had to cope with a personal experience of facing death and 76% faced the potential, impending or actual death of someone close to them.  Death is truly one of the few constant themes of life. 

To convey the key points, we created this short video, which really shows that the Human experience of the end of life is often sad but can also be uplifting.  

AI conversation example


The big question is, how are we dealing with it? 

  • Almost half (46%) of Australians agree they are fearful of death, although, as expected this fear decreases the older we get. 
      • Women and those with children fear death more than others. 
      • Grief and the impact of death and dying can have a detrimental affect on people’s mental health and yet only a small proportion of us are seeking professional support:
  • 62% of Australians said they were negatively affected by the death of someone close to them
      • Even when not close, a third of us are still negatively affected by someone we know. 
      • When a death is expected, we have time to begin to accept it and the impact is not so great. 
      • At times it is even a relief, and death can become a positive experience.
  • To cope with our feelings of grief and loss, we turn to rituals, religion and control through planning and preparation: 
      • The strongest driver of acceptance is ritual and solace, followed by support resources. 
      • Interestingly, though, women have a lot more going on when it comes to death and dying than men.  They feel it more, talk it about it more and do more than men who are more likely to become philosophical and are less likely to seek support.

Further information is available at our dedicated Private Thoughts website.  If you want to support Private Thoughts, you can also buy a copy of the report for only $250, which will be used to fund future research and the work of our not-for-profit partners.

Picture of Tracey Rankin

Tracey Rankin

Tracey is a qualitative researcher driven by an insatiable curiosity about human behaviour and adept at unravelling the underlying motives behind people’s choices and behaviour. She is also the founder of Alchemy Research & Insight Pty. Ltd.