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Ohio bill inspired by teen who took his life amid battle with COVID passes through committee hearing

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Posted at 7:05 AM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 07:48:15-04

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — It’s been just over a year and the pain that Shawn and Tara Gray carry hasn't eased.

“Every day is the same no day is different than the other,” said Shawn Gray.

Tara and Shawn’s son Brycen would’ve been 18 years old.

News 5 introduced you to this family last year, months after family members say he tragically took his own life amid a battle with COVID.

“Since that time we have also found out that he told a friend that he was feeling out of his mind that week, so we do believe that it was COVID," said Tara Gray.

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Brycen Gray.

Family members believe the virus impacted Brycen’s mental health because he never had any prior symptoms.

Ohio Congressman Anthony Gonzalez agreed and drafted a bill that expands research into COVID’s mental health impact.

This past week we've learned the bill passed through the science space and tech committee with unanimous support, meaning it's one step closer to lawmakers voting on the bill which is named after Brycen.

“From the moment we talked to him [Gonzalez] through zoom he promised us that day and I think he's kept his word,” said Tara. “I think it’s important because we really are trying to make a difference."

“We both say if we would’ve known, we wouldn’t have ever left him home alone," said Shawn.

The couple is hopeful that this legislation will pass, so no other parent has to carry the grief they hold.

“He was such a light to the world, and he should be here,” said Tara. “He should be graduating next week with his class, walking the stage, he should’ve gone to prom."

RELATED: Strongsville family inspires bill in honor of their son on COVID-19 mental health impact

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