A Texas family was grieving when they discovered their 12-year-old had hanged himself in his bedroom amid a mandatory stay-at-home order in April of 2020.
A year later, the parents of Hayden Hunstable are sharing additional details surrounding his tragic death.
Hayden’s parents say it all began last spring — when coronavirus forced his Texas middle school to go remote like many others across the nation. Hayden had a difficult time getting cut off from his social life and was unable to connect with others in person.
“This is a kid who loved life, was the life of the party,” his father, Brad Hunstable, shared with NBC DFW last May.
But as the pandemic raged on — Hayden could not continue going on. On April 17, 2020, just four days before his 13th birthday, Hayden took his own life.
His 8-year-old sister, Kinlee, found him when she walked into the boy’s bedroom and suddenly saw her brother hanging.
“My daughter ran downstairs and said Hayden has hung himself,” the boy’s father recently shared. “I ran up there, pulled him down and tried to save him. I performed CPR but I couldn’t save him. He was gone.”
“I had no idea he was struggling or depressed, he was such a happy kid and loved his friends and family,” Brad told the outlet. “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.”
After his death, Hayden’s parents searched endlessly for possible triggers.
His father Brad revealed how his son was having a hard time with the social isolation that comes from virtual learning but had no idea of the extent of the situation.
The father also wondered if his son was somehow triggered after breaking a new computer monitor — his second one in the past few months — which his parents were unaware of until after his death.
“I don’t know if he was scared about getting into trouble of anxious about not being able to speak to his friends and ruining his birthday,” his father recalled. “He either did it in impulsive anger or he got himself in a situation he couldn’t get out of.”
“I saw something horrific that day and I don’t wish it upon anybody,” Brad shared. “I still get nightmares about it.”
Since the tragic event, Brad and his family have started Hayden’s Corner, which is a nonprofit that aims to address the issue of youth suicide.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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