The 13-year-old girl who took her life after the end of her "strange" relationship with her former teacher was likely "in love" but under pressure to keep it secret, an inquest has heard.
The psychiatrist who treated the girl in Gisborne said it was likely that the end of the relationship between Reiha McLelland and Sam Back, 42, hit the girl like a divorce.
He said he did not believe she had a mental illness but was suffering a depressive episode brought about by the forced end of the relationship which came when police began investigating Back's involvement with the teen.
The inquest into Reiha's death was hearing fresh testimony about the events leading to her death in August 2014. The hearing is being carried out at the Wairoa District Court after the power cut in Gisborne disrupted the week's scheduled hearing there.
Reiha took her life in 2014 while receiving care from mental health services in Gisborne and after the end of her relationship with former Gisborne Intermediate teacher Back and his partner Angie Mepham.
The relationship came to an end when Reiha and Back were seen holding hands while she was admitted to hospital and after her mother Hinemoa discovered secret text messages between her daughter, Back and Mepham, who was also a teacher.
The psychiatrist said Reiha had become a patient of the adolescent mental health team at Tairawhiti District Health Board after running away from home and amid concerns of self-harm.
"I saw her struggle with the burden of secrets which I did not see as a mental illness."
The psychiatrist said it wasn't until after Reiha had died that the extent of the relationship became known through the gathering of evidence for the inquest - 4000 text messages in three months between the teen and her former teacher.
He said it would have added information and urgency to his approach.
"I would have said, 'This girl is in an impossible situation. She's feeling guilty, she can't talk about her innermost feelings.'
"She's in deep trouble."
Similar views were expressed earlier in the day by the teen's psychologist, who also has name suppression.
"Having formed such a close relationship with the teachers, she felt a need to protect them," said the psychologist. "She was keeping a big secret" and it was a constant problem "her main allegiance was to the teachers".
She said those involved in her treatment "didn't have any evidence there was any sexual contact". However, she said children who were in such situations were compelled to keep any sexual contact hidden.
Reiha's secret "served to isolate her from her family," she said.
Bruce and Hinemoa McLelland had told Reiha she was no longer able to see the teachers once police began investigating the extent of the relationship in April 2014.
No charges were laid but it was discovered around 4000 texts had been exchanged between Reiha and Back over the previous three months.
Despite the ban on contact, the psychologist said Reiha "didn't experience significant feelings of alienation from her parents".
"She said she understood why she wasn't able to see the teachers."
The psychologist was quizzed about the impact on Reiha of meetings between her and the teachers after the police investigation started.
One instance came in May 2014 after the teen ran away the day after being interviewed by police about the relationship with Back - an interview in which she refused to take part.
Police had arranged for Mepham to contact Reiha by text message and to collect her - a contact between the two which could have had adverse effects, the court heard.
There was also evidence, said the family's lawyer Moira Macnab, of contact with Back on July 2.
Macnab asked the psychologist if it appeared Reiha's mood shifted after contact with the teachers.
"Her mind had turned. It was somehow related to Mr Back and Miss Mepham," she said. "I do think she was doing better without the contact (with the teachers)."
The psychologist said she was never privy to the extent of text communication until after Reiha's death. Asked for her view on whether the relationship was a "good thing" with the information she had at the time, she described it as "strange, puzzling and increasingly inappropriate".
Reiha was in Back's Gisborne Intermediate class during 2013, during which time contact outside school began to take place. The contact included emails, text messages and sleepovers at his house during times when his partner was and wasn't present.
Both Back and Mepham have been before the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal following a complaint by Reiha's parents. Back was struck off and Mepham was cautioned but allowed to continue teaching.