The kid's father is urging parents to talk to their kids about their feelings, including depression, and how to deal with it.
Trigger warning: The story contains details of suicide and depression that readers may find disturbing.
A 12-year-old Texas boy hung himself to death after feeling sad and lonely during the coronavirus lockdown, revealed his father. Hayden Hunstable, of Aledo, Texas, hung himself using a belt on April 17, 2020, three days before his birthday. It was his 8-year-old daughter, Kinlee, who found her brother hanging in an upstairs room. The boy's father was on a call when his daughter came running to tell him what had happened. Hayden's father, Brad, believes his son wouldn't have taken his life if it hadn't been for the Coronavirus lockdown, according to New York Post.
His father was unaware and on a call on downstairs when it happened. It was his 8-year-old daughter who found her brother hanging in an upstairs room, and ran down to tell her father that "Hayden hung himself." Hayden's father, Brad, believes his son wouldn't have taken his own life if it weren't for the Coronavirus lockdown. “Coronavirus killed my son. I think Hayden would still be alive today if Coronavirus had never happened,” the father of three told Metro. “I had no idea he was struggling or depressed — he was such a happy kid and loved his friends and family.” Brad believes the pandemic is a recipe for disaster. “I think everything just got on top of him, he felt overwhelmed and he made a tragic decision,” said Brad. He said the pandemic is a “perfect storm for suicide and depression.”
Brad recalls that fateful day. “It was a beautiful sunny day and I gave him a hug and a kiss on the head,” said Brad. “Then when my dad left, there was just me, Kinlee, and Hayden at home. There was only a 30-minute window, Hayden had gone upstairs,” said Brad. “Then my daughter ran downstairs and said Hayden has hung himself. I ran up there, pulled him down, and tried to save him,” added Brad. He had attempted to perform CPR but couldn't save his son. "I saw something horrific that day and I don’t wish it upon anybody. I still get nightmares about it,” he said.
As we reported, Brad had posted an emotional video talking about his son and urged parents not to treat the lockdown like summer. "This is not summer. You have parents who are stressed out because they lost their jobs. You've got kids who have no interaction with friends, other than through Fortnite and FaceTime. That's not like summer. They can't get that one hug from their teacher that they needed. There are social and emotional challenges beyond comprehension," said Brad, in the video. "Human condition is not to be isolated."
A broken monitor appeared to be at the heart of the incident. Hayden had received a curved monitor for Christmas in 2019, but broke it by accident after throwing a game controller at it. This had happened just prior to the lockdown. “We told him he would not get another one, but then lockdown hit and I told him he would have to work to get a new one,” said Brad. “He did some chores around the house and we got him a cheaper one in April because it was his birthday on April 21st and he wanted to play with his friends,” he said. It was only after Hayden's death, did they find out that he had also broken his new monitor. “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,” said Brad. “He either did it in impulsive anger or he got himself in a situation he couldn’t get out of.”
Brad wants to ensure no other parent has to go through what he has been through over the past year. Brad says the pandemic has unraveled a “mental health tsunami.” He has made a short film called Almost 13 about Hayden’s story and hopes it'll encourage parents to have conversations with their kids about their feelings. “I am on a mission to solve youth suicide. Parents need to have conversations with their kids about their feelings. "We need to talk to kids about suicide and talk to kids about how to deal with depression,” he said. "He was my best friend, we were buddies. I still cry every day and I can’t change what happened… 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,” added Brad.
If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is, please contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)