Rick Stein was eager to understand more about his father’s mental health problems. Eric Stein suffered from manic depression most of his life, which ended in tragedy when he committed suicide in 1965, when Rick was only 18 years old.
If you find an ancestor who also committed suicide, you may be able to learn more about the circumstances that led to the suicide through a variety of records. Firstly, the death certificate would provide the first document stating that the death was a suicide. Sudden deaths were often a matter for a coroner’s inquest, so obtaining those records can shed light on what led to the suicide (surviving records are held in local archives). If inquest papers don’t survive, then local newspapers would often report on these (and provide additional details too), so researching there may bear fruit. Many local newspapers are now online at britishnewspaperarchive. co.uk, on Findmypast, or held in local archives. Often those who committed suicide would have spent time in hospitals or asylums seeking treatment for their illness, so hospital records could also provide more information. However, these recordss can be subject to restricted access depending on when the suicide occurred, so you may need to provide kinship details to obtain access.
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