Dad Shares Heartbreaking Story of His Boy’s Suicide in Response To Social Isolation

Brad Hunstable
Hayden's Corner/YouTube

The pandemic has caused families to struggle in a variety of heartbreaking ways that extend well beyond the physical. After his 12-year-old son Hayden died by suicide, a father named Brad Hunstable is sharing his family's devastating story to raise awareness about the impact the coronavirus crisis is having on Americans' mental health.

  • In a powerful YouTube video, Hunstable says, "My son died from the coronavirus... but not in the way you think."

    The Texas father goes on to share the details leading up to the death of his 12-year-old Hayden that occurred April 17, just four days before his 13th birthday.

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  • After breaking a monitor he received as a special gift earlier in the year, Hayden was eager to do what it took to earn a new one. 

    Through chores and being a good big brother to his 8-year-old sister, he did what was required to receive a new monitor. In a fit of anger, however, he threw his controller and broke the second monitor. That's the event -- exacerbated by social isolation -- Hunstable believes set off his son's unthinkable move to take his own life.

  • "The isolation... there's no doubt in my mind [it] had an affect," the grieving father says in the video.

    He explained that his son wasn't depressed, at least on the surface. "Social isolation is hard enough for adults, it's even more hard for our kids," he said. "I believe my son would be alive today if he was in school."

  • Hustable says his attempt to highlight the grave effects of social isolation isn't an attempt to discount the medical toll the pandemic is taking.

    Instead, it's a case for raising awareness. By sharing his family's heart-wrenching experience, he aims to bring attention to children's emotional well-being during this crisis.

  • In the days following his son's death, Hunstable has founded Hayden's Corner.

    The organization will fund and provide K to 12 schools, students, parents, and school systems with learning content focused on social and emotional development for youth. It will also support nonprofit organizations focused on gaming and technology psychology, addiction, and abuse among children and young adults.

  • On the Hayden's Corner Twitter account, Hunstable pointed out that suicide is the second leading cause of death for children 10 to 14 years old.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that suicide rates for people 10 to 24 years old increased 56% from 2007 to 2017. 

    It's hoped Hunstable's work will serve to open parents' eyes to this aspect of the current crisis and preempt further tragedy.

    If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with suicidal thoughts, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255. They are available 24/7 by phone or online chat.