About Thanatology

Thanatology is the study and exploration of death, dying and grief.

Or, as we like to think of it,

Thanatology explores life, by asking question about death.

How do we stand together and support each other in grief, individually and collectively? What does it mean to navigate a vast fragmented landscape of health and wellness in a time of global uncertainty and inequality? How do we experience community? What can endings, of life, jobs, relationships, mass extinction, identities, teach us about ourselves and our communities?  What does it mean to live in an interdependent

landscape engulfing countless complexities? How do we live alongside, and honour, legacies of people and places now gone?

Thanatology looks to the sciences, biological, psychological, social, healthcare, death care, spirituality, policy, politics, culture, philosophy, in a multidisciplinary field studying humanity through the lens of death and loss.

How can Thanatology help you?

Understanding death and dying gives us tools and experiences to prepare us for loss and grief, and help us understanding what we have already experienced. Knowledge of the uncertainty and normality of grief processes helps navigate individual and collective grief, and support our communities.

Thanatology, and death education, establishes Death and Grief Literacy.

Death and Grief Literacy at an organisational level has the ability to reduce the risk of complications in grief, improve long term mental health outcomes, and support people through complex and challenging circumstances.

That understanding can be used to embed compassionate support and resilience in our communities and workplaces; at a policy level, at the grassroots, for those in grief, and for those supporting the bereaved.

Thanatology can help us design, use and navigate systems and services for humans as a whole, in health care, workplaces, schools and wider society.

About Cass HM

Cass Humphries-Massey is an Independent Thanatologist, specialising in grief and bereavement. CHM Thanatology is informed by an ongoing practice of academic development, arts, storytelling, death education, and death companionship.

Cass is a member of the Open University, as a student and contributor, expanding their knowledge and research of death, dying and bereavement. They are an alumni member of the first Enrol Yourself Learning Marathon in Birmingham, pioneering collaborative learning and peer-led facilitation. Cass is a Death Companion Initiate with the School of American Thanatology.

Cass contributes to service design for grief support interventions in health and third sector organisations, and delivers grief coaching and bereavement peer support.


Cass has the perfect blend of deep knowledge and expertise with an open, welcoming and calm style of delivery.  They are a creative and compassionate facilitator and designed sessions specifically for us that provided really useful insight into grief and many practical takeaways. It was the first time we had talked about grief and bereavement within our organisation and Cass was the perfect choice to handle it sensitively while also actively focusing on maximising inclusion and access. I would not hesitate to invite them into your organisation.

Head of Learning and Development, Mills and Reeve