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Vulnerable Population: Mentally Ill People - Term Paper Example

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There are mainly three categories of vulnerable populations like physical, psychological, and social. For this assignment, the vulnerable population chosen is mentally ill people (psychologically vulnerable population)…
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Vulnerable Population: Mentally Ill People
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Vulnerable Population: Mentally Ill People Vulnerable Population: Mentally Ill People Introduction There are mainly three categories of vulnerable populations like physical, psychological, and social. For this assignment, the vulnerable population chosen is mentally ill people (psychologically vulnerable population). The varying needs of mentally ill people are often underserved despite the fact that their needs are highly serious and they require extensive medical and non-medical attention. This paper will particularly address the nature of mental illness, its national and community statistics, federal and state initiatives taken, healthy people 2020 objectives, and the role of nurses. The Vulnerable Population Mental illness can be simply defined as a medical condition that causes troubles to an individual’s thinking, emotions, mood, daily functioning, and ability to relate to others. Individuals with mental illnesses often suffer from diminished capacity of meeting daily needs of life and hence this population is vulnerable to many life threatening conditions. Generally, major mental illnesses include depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PSTD), schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and borderline personality disorder (NAMI). However, recovery is possible in almost all cases of mental illnesses. According to psychological researchers, mental illnesses can affect individuals regardless of their age, sex, religion, race, or income; and mental illnesses are not caused as a result of lack of character, personal weaknesses, or poor upbringing (NAMI). Nature of the Vulnerability It is observed that mentally ill people are extremely prone to social isolation, which is a condition where individuals have lack of contact with the society. Psychologists argue that social isolation can worsen the medical condition of this population. They also indicate that mental illness may increase people’s vulnerability to unhappiness and diminished enjoyment of life. In addition, it is often identified that this population suffers from family conflicts and relationship difficulties. As many studies point out, mentally ill population is prone to alcohol addiction and substance abuse; and self-harm and harm to others are some dreadful issues facing this population (Mayo clinic staff). Mentally ill people have increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, heart diseases and similar medical conditions, and weakened immune system. National and Community Statistics Mental illness is very common in the United States. According to statistical data, nearly 26.2 percent Americans aged 18 and above develop a diagnosable mental illness in a given year. Evidences also suggest that mental illness is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. “Although mental disorders are widespread in this population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion – about 6 percent or 1 in 17 – who suffer from a serious mental illness” (NIMH). Living conditions of communities can have a great influence on mental illness rather than ethnicity or race. Federal and State Policies The US federal government and states have formulated a number of policies to address the issue of mental illness. Recently, the Obama administration has declared a policy called ‘essential health benefits’ in order to assist people to gain access to mental healthcare coverage; and under this federal policy, insurers are required to cover treatment of mental illnesses (as cited in Pear 2013). Healthy People 2020 Objectives The healthy people 2020 objectives give specific attention to mental illness. According to this plan, the major objective is mental health status improvement and treatment expansion. This policy framework specifically tries to reduce suicide rates and promote healthy eating behaviors among mentally ill population. Another objective of this plan is to reduce the number of people who experience major depressive episodes. In addition, the healthy people 2020 objectives strive to provide proper treatment to mentally ill people by establishing new treatment facilities and improving the existing ones. The Role of Nurses Undoubtedly, nurses have a crucial role to play in improving the mental status of this vulnerable population. As experts point out, proper patient care is an integral part of treating mentally ill people because it can have a positive psychological influence on their mental health. While serving this population, nurses must seek the active involvement of the patient’s family members. The nurses must be able to influence the way the mentally ill people perceive their life. Conclusion From the above discussion, it is clear that mentally ill people represent a vulnerable population that is exposed to threats like family conflicts, relationship difficulties, substance abuse, suicide and homicide, and heart diseases. The federal government has taken a number of policy initiatives to address the growing issue of mental illness in the United States. References Mayo Clinic staff. Mayo clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mental-illness/DS01104/DSECTION=complications NIMH. The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml NAMI. What is mental illness? Retrieved from http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness Pear, R. (2013). New Federal Rule Requires Insurers to Offer Mental Health Coverage. The New York Times, Feb 20. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/health/new-federal-rule-requires-insurers-to-offer-mental-health-coverage.html?_r=0 Read More
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