October 3, 2022


For First-Rate Health

Families and mental health professionals urge COVID-19 research

STRONGSVILLE – When 17-year-old son Brycen Gray’s symptoms quickly worsened, his mother, Tara Gray, didn’t know he had COVID-19.

Thinking back on it, the Strongsville resident believes that he contracted the virus sometime between April 16 and 18, when he was with his high school friends — nearly one week before he died by suicide.

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Gray said her son, who was never diagnosed with a mental illness, died after the infectious virus caused him to develop a psychiatric illness. 

“Hindsight is 2020, ” said Gray. “Had I known he had COVID-19 and this was going to be our destiny and we had more information, I would never have left him at home alone.”

Nearly seven months after his death, Gray’s family is calling for federal research funds to study COVID-19 and the mental health and neurological effects it has on the human body.

“Brycen was not depressed. There were no signs. I know kids can hide it,” Gray said. “It has everyone shaken.”

‘It’s a nightmare’

Brycen Gray (right) poses with his niece.

When her son first became sick on Monday, April 19, she wasn’t surprised. 

Earlier that day he had received his second BioNTech Pfizer vaccine, and she expected that he would feel sick like he was after his first shot. 

But each day his condition deteriorated.

By Wednesday he couldn’t taste or smell, soon developed a fever and had severe diarrhea — common symptoms of coronavirus. While he could sleep, he didn’t eat or drink, she said.