Carbondale’s Mental Health and Criminal Activity With COVID-19

Photo retrieved from

Photo retrieved from

Worldwide lockdowns and state mandates have dramatically changed the way society functions as a whole. Small Businesses and independent workers are being drastically affected. There are countless negative effects Covid has brought forth, and no one can foresee them vanishing anytime soon. There have recently been quite a few incidents involving Carbondale’s residents, for example the disappearance of Kenzie Clerk and Adan Partlow. Two teens who were an active part of our community, no one would have predicted it. So, is it possible that the changes Covid has brought us has caused the diminishing mental health of our community? And does degrading mental health have anything to do with the rising crime rates?

According to Valarie Kasten, a counselor and Co-owner at Carbondale counseling Associates, “The need for mental health services has dramatically increased with Covid 19… There have been dramatic increases in the number of calls to the suicide prevention hotline, significant increase in PTSD, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.” So, what does this mean for Carbondale during this prolonged pandemic? 

In not all but some cases, crime and mental health have a direct correlation. Approximately 20% state prison inmates suffered from severe mental health diseases in 2014. Today, that number has reached approximately 70%. Given this information, many sources have predicted crime rates will rise with the economic and social change that covid-19 has and will continue to bring. These predictions have thus so far, been true. 

Detective Brooke Lam, who has worked for the Carbondale police department for nearly 17 years states, “We don’t keep statistics on crime rates, but since march when Covid first hit, our town was very quiet, this was unusual.” When Carbondale schools and offices were first shut down, many residents were most likely enjoying the time off, but slowly started to realize that without school or an office to escape too, family tensions quickly rose, as did stress levels. Likely because of this extreme cabin fever and limitations of day to day life people in Carbondale started to take their frustration elsewhere such as “drastic increases in domestic violence.” Explains Detective Lam. Phone calls started coming in reporting physical and sexual abuse. 

With everything happening, it is important that individuals take notice of their mental health. Take breaks from upsetting content, and focus on things like exercise and reading. The best thing for us to do now is look out for our community.