DENVER (KDVR) — After a deadly violent weekend in Denver, mental health experts explained that gun violence has increased since 2019 and the pandemic didn’t help.
“There is an element we have been desensitized to being seen we can turn our cameras off on Zoom,” Dr. Kim Gorgens, a professor in the graduate school of professional psychology at the University of Denver said.
Gorgens said people became accustomed during the pandemic to being invisible which, in some cases, made people feel more emboldened, especially with crimes.
“For a period of three years we lost that practice,” Gorgens said.
She said some became rusty with social skills, including courtesy. She said mental health issues have also drastically increased.
“The rates of mental illness and distress have increased sixfold, which now those numbers are higher than 60%,” Gorgens said.
On the other end of these crimes are both the victims and witnesses and Gorgens said they also become impacted.
“The risk really is for the general population to hear stories like this and it changes their behavior,” Gorgens said.
She said with people hearing about violent crimes close to home, things can turn into an ugly cycle.
“The downside of fear ironically is an increase in gun ownership and an increase in gun ownership makes an increase in incidents,” Gorgens said.