An eight-year-old girl found her older brother hanged in his bedroom after lockdown left him feeling “sad and lonely”.
His heartbroken father Brad Hunstable, 42, has recalled the “horrific” moment he tried to save his son Hayden’s life in Aledo, Texas.
The dad-of-three said the suicide happened three days before his 13th birthday and that he “would still be alive today” if it wasn’t for Covid.
He described how his youngest daughter, Kinlee, now aged nine, found Hayden after he took his own life at their home last year.
Brad told Metro.co.uk: “On April 17 our water went out at the house and my dad came over, Hayden helped us fix it. It was a beautiful sunny day and I gave him a hug and a kiss on the head.
“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.”
He went on: “Then my daughter ran downstairs and said Hayden has hung himself. 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 saw something horrific that day and I don’t wish it upon anybody. I still get nightmares about it.”
He added: “Covid killed my son. I think Hayden would still be alive today if Covid had never happened.”
Hayden was hit hard when his school Aledo Middle School shut down in March and hated virtual learning, he said.
Brad, who is married to April, 39, added his son may have been anxious about cracking a second monitor in his room or frustrated by not being able to see his friends on his birthday.
He has launched an organization in Hayden’s name – called Hayden’s Corner – set up to encourage parents to talk to their children about mental health and how to deal with their feelings.