Inquests and suicide


A chara, – Changes to short-form death certificates may offer some succour to bereaved families following a death by suicide (“Legal requirement for an inquest after a suicide needs to be reviewed”, Opinion & Analysis, August 13th).

Balancing the legal requirement of an inquest with the grieving of a family, even a whole community, is undoubtedly difficult. But inquests serve many functions, including highlighting if future deaths can be prevented.

The public interest aspect of media reporting of deaths by suicide can still be improved. While good practice guidelines exist, sometimes they are not always adhered to.

When circumstances are “tragic”, or the person is of high profile, recent history shows a lack of restraint in some media reporting of intimate and distressing aspects of suicide.

This may cause much more harm than a lawful inquest. – Is mise,


Assistant Professor

Mental Health,

School of Nursing

& Midwifery,

Trinity College, Dublin 2.