Content Warning: This post discusses suicide.
Each year in November we remember Matt Hughes, whose death was the founding impetus for Take This. This year around the same time, Dave Isbell reached out to me. His son, Ty, had recently taken his own life, and Dave and Ty’s friends were looking for a way to honor his legacy as a beloved gamer by partnering with a mental health charity.
So, this year, we’d like to remember Matt as well as Ty, and remind our community that it is OK to not be OK, but it’s also really, really OK to ask for help. If you, or someone you know, needs help right now, please visit our mental health resources page. There are some more resources I’ll share below, but first I’m honored to tell you a little more about Tyler Isbell, and about the fundraiser his friends are holding on Dec 4, 2021 in Lansing, Michigan.
Tyler was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1994. According to his dad, from the minute he was born, everyone was enamored with him – he was the most charming, beautiful, baby – and he never lost that charm. Tyler was a determined, strong-willed, and fiercely independent person. As a child he was apparently something of a daredevil, with a drive to achieve perfection and continue learning and trying new things. That curiosity, creativity, and resourcefulness would lead him to take things apart, just so he could understand how they worked. Often, they’d get put back together in some strange and novel way! Tyler was also an avid gamer, spending endless hours mastering games. He loved strategy games like Chess and Risk, as well as nearly any first person video game. He spent many hours online meeting players that he could challenge, learn from, and laugh with. However, his favorite game was Magic: the Gathering, and he was a beloved mentor and teacher of the game (even veteran players learned from him!)
As he grew into adulthood, Tyler maintained his love for his friends. He loved singing and music, and when he sang it didn’t matter if he was off key, it was joyful, and people couldn’t help but join in to sing along. He took deep interest in learning as much as he could about another person when he met them, and inevitably found out what made them laugh. One foolproof way to get a laugh out of friends was to prank them on April Fool’s day – his favorite holiday.
Even though Tyler was fun-loving, playful, and joyful it wasn’t always fun and games for him. Those who knew him the best knew that he often felt alone, misunderstood, vulnerable. He was a sensitive soul who felt every pain from those around him, and used laughter as his medicine. Often, he could reach out for help, and those who loved him were there for him, until the last time, when he couldn’t reach out.
Remember, your life is always valuable. If you or someone you know is in crisis, in need of immediate intervention, and based in the US, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-8255. Information for other countries/areas can be found here.
To honor the memory of Ty, some of his friends have organized a local Magic: The Gathering pauper tournament at AFK Games in Holt, Michigan on December 4, the proceeds of which will benefit Take This. If you don’t live nearby, but wish to honor Ty’s memory, you can give to our year-end fundraising campaign.
If you would like some additional resources about suicide, please check out the following articles and posts from our archives: