Few places have been hit as hard by the pandemic as Texas. But the family of Hayden Hunstable may be suffering more than some. In April, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country, shutting down schools and isolating people at home, 12-year-old Hayden Hunstable took his own life. Now, his family had come forward to talk about their son’s suicide and how there were no visible warning signs before the boy killed himself.
What’s even worse was that the 12-year-old boy’s body was discovered by his younger sister. The eight-year-old girl, Kinlee, found her brother hanging inside her home in Aledo, Texas, on April 17, 2020.
The boy ended his own life shortly after he worked with his father and grandfather to fix a water problem in their home. The boy’s father, Brad, tried to save his life after he was found hanging by performing C.P.R., but the boy was too far gone and could not be resuscitated.
Now, Brad blames the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic for the untimely death of this son. During an interview with Metro UK, Brad blamed the pandemic for his son’s death.
“COVID killed my son,” Brad said to Metro.co.uk. “I think Hayden would still be alive today if COVID had never happened.
Before the pandemic shut down Hayden’s life, he was an active boy who loved to socialize. Lockdown ended all of those activities for the boy and may have driven him into a depression. Brad had no idea how much his son was suffering during the pandemic.
“I had no idea he was struggling or depressed. He was such a happy kid and loved his friends and family. But COVID is a perfect storm for suicide and depression. I think everything just got on top of him, he felt overwhelmed, and he made a tragic decision. My daughter ran downstairs and said Hayden had hung himself. I ran up there, pulled him down, and tried to save him,” Brad stated. “I performed C.P.R., but I couldn’t save him. He was gone.
“I saw something horrific that day, and I don’t wish it upon anybody. I still get nightmares about it.”
Brad recalled that Hayden adapted poorly to virtual learning. He also broke his computer monitor, which may have contributed to depressed feelings before his death. It was the second monitor he had broken in a short period of time.
“I don’t know if he was scared about getting into trouble or anxious about not being able to speak to his friends and ruining his birthday,” Brad said. “He either did it in impulsive anger, or he got himself in a situation he couldn’t get out of.”
Hayden’s death has given Brad a new purpose in life.
“I am on a mission to solve youth suicide,” Brad said. “Parents need to have conversations with their kids about their feelings.”
Mental health issues have skyrocketed during the pandemic. Suicide rates have increased. Substance abuse rates have increased. More Americans are depressed and turning to drugs and alcohol to cope.
Dad said, “Hayden is a hero because I think he has already saved so many people across the world. I just hope I can do him justice.”