NFDA Addresses Tragic Deaths in New Public Service Announcements

When a loved one dies under tragic circumstances, some families choose to not have a funeral. They may be embarrassed and worried what others will think due to how their loved one died. Regardless of how someone died, there are, very often, memories worth commemorating. The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) has released the two public service announcements (PSA) that encourage families to memorialize their loved ones, regardless of how they died. These PSAs are part of NFDA’s consumer outreach and education initiative.

When someone dies of an overdose, it can lead to strong emotions, especially among children. The PSA “When a Parent Dies of an Overdose” shows that having a funeral gives the family, particularly children, an opportunity to remember their loved one and the good times they had.

Families may not always agree with the life decisions made by a loved one, especially if they involve illegal activity. The second PSA, “Remembering A Good Friend Who Made Bad Decisions,” discusses the importance of coming together to reflect on a loved one’s entire life history and remembering happier times.

“It’s important to remember that the circumstances under which someone dies do not define who he or she was as a person. Every life is worth remembering,” said NFDA President Chuck Bowman, CMSP, CFSP, CCO. “Funerals are a time for those grieving a loss to share their grief and commemorate the life of the person they knew and loved.”

These PSAs are the first in a series that will address the value of meaningful funerals and the role of the funeral director. The first two PSAs were created by NFDA through a grant from the Funeral Service Foundation.

Why Address Tragic Deaths?

Unfortunately, each year, thousands of people from all walks of life die under tragic circumstances, such as an overdose, suicide, violence or accidental death. Families may experience a wide range of emotions, ranging from shock, numbness and anger to guilt and helplessness. It may be difficult to talk about the death with others.

As a result, they may feel compelled to quickly move on and try to forget about the death and their grief. They may feel, given the circumstances of the death, that a funeral is inappropriate.

However, in most cases, relatives and friends want to be able to show support and help console those who are grieving and struggling with the death.

While many families think of funerals as for the deceased, funerals are, in fact, for the living – to allow time for family and friends to share their grief. This type of gathering is important regardless of how an individual dies, but takes on greater significance when a death is tragic. A funeral director can help plan a tribute that beautifully reflects the life of the person the family knew and loved.

Using the PSAs in the Community

NFDA is sharing the public service announcements with consumers on the website and social media sites. There is also information on about how families can work with a funeral director to commemorate the life of someone who dies tragically.

The PSAs are also available to NFDA members for use in their community, such as by posting them on a funeral home website, sharing them on social media, using them as part of a community presentations or working with your local or cable TV channel to run the spots as public service announcements.

Funeral professionals can view the PSAs by visiting the NFDA website, (click the “Resources” tab at the top of the page and select “Public & Community Relations”; then, from the menu on the left side of the page, click on “Community Relations” and select “Tragic Death Resources”).

Funeral directors who are interested in using these PSAs in their community should call NFDA at 800-228-6332 and ask to speak with a member of the marketing department.

NFDA has also created a new consumer brochure, “Every Life Deserves a Tribute,” which reinforces the importance of a meaningful funeral when a death occurs under tragic circumstances. The brochure can be ordered online,, or by calling NFDA at 800-228-6332.

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

For Immediate Release: March 25, 2019

Contact: Jessica Koth, 262-814-1536,