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'My Husband Didn't Take His Life, COVID Did': Grundy Co. Woman Wants Attention Paid To Illness-Related Psychosis

CHICAGO (CBS) --There's a concerning trendline emerging of patients recently cleared from COVID protocols: taking their own lives.

One woman from Grundy County said over 50 families reached out after she made public the story of her husband's death. CBS 2's Chris Tye with her new focus and the new attention she's getting from Washington.

Doctors aren't sure why and they aren't sure what to do about it. But the change COVID can have on the brain has them warning families whose loved ones are acting out of the ordinary to be diligent and not leave them alone.

"My husband didn't take his life, COVID did. My husband would never have left us. His children were his world."

The world Ben Price knew flipped upside down in just 16 days last February. He contracted COVID, was hospitalized and shed the symptoms. He then returned home to his farm and his family in Morris, southwest of Joliet. That's where symptoms not usually associated with COVID began to bubble up.

"He was paranoid. He was pacing the house. He was worried about farming, which you couldn't do in February anyway," said his wife Jennifer Price.

On the last morning of February Ben headed to the office to catch up on work.

"And within an hour he was gone," Price said.

He took his own life. On his death certificate the cause of death: COVID Psychosis.

"It has caused change in the brain chemistry and brain structure. We don't know specifically how it achieves that."

Dr. Isaac Mezo works with Ben's wife Jennifer to educate patients and physicians on the trend.

"You don't leave your friends or family members alone. You take them to the doctor. It has to be addressed and because it's not well known, you have to push these providers who are not aware of the phenomena."

"I had so many cases where the families did try to get help and the medical staff didn't take it serious. And passed it off as mental health issues," Price said.

To raise awareness and dollars, Jennifer ran the California International Marathon in Ben's honor this weekend. Last month, legislation in Ben's name began working its way through Congress to fund research on the topic.

The farm was Ben's happy place. His legacy will be in the form of growing awareness and funding for of a piece of the pandemic we're just beginning to understand.

"To help get funding for the neurological impact of COVID — because it's out there."

In isolated cases doctors saw this phenomenon on the brain early on in the pandemic. Click here to learn more about the Ben Price Foundation.

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