Tragically, there are many suicides in the communities we cover. Each one is, in its own way, unique and hard to understand. And yet each, regardless of the reasons, is a tragedy. To our way of thinking, each should remain as private as the personal torment that drives someone to such a desperate solution.
Alysha, however, chose a public forum.
She killed herself in a public park where people sit by the river, walk and have picnics.
And then, in full view of anyone passing by, the police arrived to investigate.
That, a suicide in public, met one of our guidelines.
It is impossible and irresponsible not to tell the public that this was not a murder.
A private suicide of a private person, which she was, would not be reported.
On the other hand, the suicide of a public figure has a better chance of being reported, whether in private or not, the reasoning being that this person's loss impacts the community at large.
In Alysha's case, her naming came at the instigation of her family, which believed that telling her story was an important tale for all to read.
To their great credit, they wanted to put a face on someone who challenged the community's capacity to help, or not.
And from the community's perspective, the story provided a venue for friends, acquaintances, police and other organizations to describe what they can do and what, just as importantly, they can't do.
... But as Alysha's mom, Naomi Cummings, said, "I think depression and addiction affects so many people's lives. The only way to keep it from happening is to be open and not hide it."