On April 17, Hayden Hunstable took his own life. He was a few days away from his 13th birthday.
In a video that has now gone viral, Hayden’s father Brad Hunstable explains that he believes social isolation mandated as part of state and nation-wide COVID-19 restrictions is partially to blame for Hayden’s death.
“My son died from the coronavirus as I mentioned,” Brad says in the video. “But not in the way you’d think.”
Hayden Hunstable was an avid video gamer, and in an environment where he was unable to physically work out his feelings through gym class or playing outside with friends, his frustration over a game caused him to break a computer monitor that he had been given as a gift. Brad believes that his son’s embarrassment over the broken monitor, coupled with the lack of an outlet for his energy and emotions is what led Hayden to take his own life.
“I think the scary thing about COVID for me and the isolation is that it amplifies whatever is there and makes it even bigger, in my option,” Brad said.
May is Mental Health Awareness month and ironically, our national mental health is a major concern in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. From health care workers and frontline workers seeing the pandemic play out firsthand, to those struggling with the daily battle of social isolation, we have all experienced trauma on a global scale.
In an effort to make sure other families don’t experience the same heartache of losing a child to suicide, the Hunstable family has established Hayden’s Corner. The Hayden’s Corner Fund will work to provide “students, parents, and school systems learning content focused on the social and emotional development of our youth” and “support non-profits focused on gaming and technology psychology, addiction, and abuse among children and young adults.”
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time of day or night or chat online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.