But now you (or the coroner) have reported a suicide as such...
In the old days......Sorted PDQ. Have we improved things?
Oamaru Mail - 6 September 1884.
Mason.—On the 5th Inst., Emma Louisa, the beloved wife of Philip J. Mason, aged 32 years. The funeral will leave her late residence, Stour-street, at 10.30 a.m on Monday, 8th inst. Friends are invited to attend. G. L. Grenfell, Undertaker.
The following appeared on 6 Sept in: Evening Post, Wanganui Herald, Star, Hawera & Normanby Star, Fielding Star, Thames Star, Poverty Bay Herald, Hawkes Bay Herald, Auckland Star, Nelson Evening Mail, Colonist (8th Sept), ODT (12 Sept):
Suicide at Oamaru.
By Telegraph. United Press Association. Oamaru, 5th September. The wife of Mr. Philip Mason cut her throat this evening, and died in a few minutes afterwards. Her mind has been affected for some time.
North Otago Times - 6 September 1884
Yesterday afternoon about 4 o'clock the police received Information that Mrs Mason, wife of Mr Philip Mason, had taken her own life by cutting her throat. Constable Lemm proceeded to deceased's residence, and found the body lying in a shed alongside the house, in which place the act had been committed. Catherine Wilson, who was attending deceased, says that at about five minutes to four she left the house for a few minutes, and on her return missed deceased. She heard what she supposed to be kerosene dripping on the floor of a shed adjoining the house, and on going there found Mrs Mason standing with her throat cut, and holding a table-knife in her hand, She took the knife from her, and Mrs Mason immediately thereafter fell down and expired. The police and Dr de Lautour were immediately summoned, but life was extinct.........An inquest will be held today.
Oamaru Mail – 6 September 1884
An inquiry was held at the Junction Hotel this morning before H. W. Robinson, Esq., District Coroner, and a jury, of which Mr S. Newey was chosen foreman, touching the death of Emma Louisa Mason. After viewing the body, the evidence was taken of Philip J. Mason, who deposed that his wife was 32 years of age. They had been married about 14 years, and had had seven children. Six of these were living, the youngest being about seven months old. His wife had, during the last six months, been of an unsound mind, and she had been under the treatment of several medical men, and latterly of Dr de Lautour. Some time since she was in Dunedin, under Dr Maunsells treatment, and appeared very much better, but getting worse again he took her back to Dunedin to consult Dr Maunsell, but that gentleman had then gone to Sydney and he had consulted Dr Bachelor instead. Dr Bachelor would not decide about sending her to an asylum, and he brought her back to Oamaru, and she had since been under the treatment of Dr de Lautour. None of the medical men had definitely advised her being sent to an asylum, or he would have sent her to one. The next witness was Dr de Lautour, who stated that deceased had been in a very weak state of health from about a month after the birth of her last child. She had been suffering from melancholia and hysteria, or what might be called hysteriomania. He had advised Mr Mason six weeks ago to have someone to look after her, and from that time a nurse had been in constant attendance. He had been speaking to Mr Mason about sending deceased to an asylum, and he would have sent her next week had no improvement taken place. Deceased had a great horror of going to an asylum, and begged them not to send her to one. He (Dr de Lautour) had noticed that Mr Mason was particularly kind and attentive to her, and that the nurse had also been very attentive. After further evidence had been taken, the jury, without retiring, returned a verdict to the effect that deceased had cut her throat while of unsound mind.
My father committed suicide and I felt it was a story worth repeating as it resulted from many issues that weren't often reported on by a media protecting the rugby, racing, beer and Roger-Douglas-was-visionary culture prevalent in the 90's.
Suicides often have an uncomfortable background of causes that go back decades, but are often symptomatic of bad policies impacting on those worst able to respond to them.
I feel by media not truthfully revealing the causes of suicide we are ignoring the parrot in the mine. Suicide can often be a protest that just doesn't involve immolation, but is as shattering for those close to the victim and is really a statement by the victim that they have no hope for improvement in their lives. We should report those reasons more.