Free «Mental Illness and Homelessness» Essay Sample
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Homelessness is a serious and growing social problem in America and the whole world. Severe mental illness is considered to be third largest cause of homelessness not only in the United States of America but also in some other parts of the world (Veldhuizen et al., 2015, p. 196). Notably, homelessness together with serious mental illness renders such individuals susceptible to other severe health problems from which they suffer for longer periods of time. This happens due to the fact that poor mental health affects physical health and that mentally ill people are careless about taking basic precautions against maladies. Homeless people may easily be affected by various physical problems, such as respiratory infections, skin diseases, or other chronic diseases, for example, tuberculosis (Conrad & Bandini, 2015, p. 67). Some mentally ill individuals even endeavor to administer medication without doctor’s prescription using streets drugs, which leads to addiction as well as creates an avenue for certain diseases to spread, especially through injections. Mental illness is prevalent among homeless individuals, and it is vital for the healthcare system to ensure that they have easier access to mental healthcare.
Mental Health Problems Among Homeless People
The alarming rate at which homeless people encounter numerous health problems, mental ones in particular, is quite worrisome. Homelessness and mental illness form a perfect example of an extreme form of social exclusion with numerous health complications as well as the inability to access and use healthcare services. According to Asgary et al. (2016 p. 41), the level of mental health problems among the homeless is remarkably high compared to the securely domiciled. Notably, substance abuse and schizophrenia are quite common among the homeless population, and it significantly complicates the whole issue making it even more difficult to address the problem. About 50% of the entire homeless populations suffer from severe mental illnesses, which explains the high prevalence of substance abuse and addiction among the homeless and mentally ill people to about 55% only in the United States of America (Asgary et al., 2016, p. 43). In New York alone, there are over 50, 000 homeless people, and almost half of them suffer from a particular mental disorder. This is about 5 times higher compared to the general population. In fact, the rate of the neurotic disorder is twice higher in young adults compared to the general population, and this includes mental distress, anxiety, and depression among other diseases (Smith & Sederer, 2015, p. 528). Therefore, treating this kind of health complication requires in-patient care services due to their severe conditions. However, this population does not have access to healthcare services if and when they need them, and are left to languish in their own mystery and ultimately die a horrible death.
Homelessness and Access to Mental Health Care
Research unveils that at least one in every four of the general population will suffer from mental illness at some point in their life while the majority will have access to primary healthcare services (Conrad & Bandini, 2015, p. 69). Contrary to the general population, homelessness deprives its victims of the luxury to enjoy primary healthcare services given the nature of their environment of wandering in and out of places they know about. In some countries, such as England, for instance, homeless people have access to such healthcare services as the A&E department, which provides them with treatment and other services (Scott, 1993, p. 324). However, this has not worked successfully due to the perceived cost of operation and other financial difficulties and thus rendered it ineffective as far as availing medical assistance to the homeless is concerned. Homeless people have difficulties in accessing secondary mental healthcare despite the severity of their mental illnesses, which may include mania, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and personality disorder, especially when professional mental health practitioners are rare to find in certain areas (Hsiao, Lu, & Tsai, 2015, p. 273). The fact that most homeless people are not registered with the primary healthcare services makes it even more difficult for them to access secondary healthcare services despite them being in a dire need.
Engagement is a crucial step when working with the homeless people similar to working in any other aspect aiming to achieve success. In fact, this step should be prioritized in pursuit of a successful outcome because it seeks to include all relevant stakeholders in a bid to ensure proper care for these people. In addition, advocacy can aid in the enhancement of the quality of lives of the homeless. Moreover, workers and other specialists, including healthcare professionals, who come into the direct contact with these people and suspect them having any form of mental disorder, should engage in the communication process aimed at encouraging them to seek healthcare services as soon as possible and helping them to improve not only their mental but also general health (Smith & Sederer, 2015, p. 528).
Notably, this campaign targets mental healthcare nurses and associated health experts who work to help homeless people in various parts of the world. The campaign is also useful among other legislative as well as charitable interventions working in the same line of activities (Conrad & Bandini, 2015, p. 71). This will help to design quite reliable models of effective practice to aid numerous interventions that address the burning issues related to lack or insufficiency of the necessary resources, which are vital for the homeless people who suffer from mental health problems.
Overview of Mental Illness Prevention Campaign
The campaign to curb and reduce the risks of mental health illness among homeless people was developed using the instructional design technique. The process began by developing the learning outcomes for the program before conducting a thorough study with regard to the best teaching techniques that are reliable for imparting relevant skills and knowledge to the learners. This was closely followed by the learning activities designed to help the learners acquire wonderful experience that would contribute immensely to helping the target group as well as to a successful learning process. This learning method was specifically selected due to its instructional experiences that enhance the skills and knowledge acquisition process in a more efficient and productive way as far as this field of healthcare services is concerned. The campaign reflects evidence-based nursing practice is associated with the fact that the campaign will rely on the available statistics and research findings to help nurses understand the best ways to make informed nursing decisions in relation to helping the mentally ill and homeless persons.
On the other hand, interdisciplinary collaboration with branches is also evident in the campaign given that the latter has incorporated a number of views and evidence to support the urgency of the problem from the government agencies and non-governmental organizations. Besides, the campaign acknowledges the cultural and linguistic diversity that is present in the campaign, which is why there will be various translators available throughout the program to help Spanish speakers and French speakers as well as the Portuguese ones. As far as the cultural competence is concerned, the training program is designed to enhance the integration of data, knowledge, and information in relation to mental health and homelessness into clinical values, expertise, approaches to care delivery, and policies in line with the mental healthcare nursing practice in order to increase the quality, relevance, and suitability of mental healthcare and results. Therefore, given the collaboration and meaningful partnerships with various bodies and organizations and the high standards observed in organizing this campaign, it is with deep conviction to believe that this is indeed consistent with the Healthy People 2020 initiative.
Nurses and other associated health experts are the target audience of the campaign. This campaign acknowledges the fact that nurses and other medical health practitioners possess vast knowledge in the medical field. Therefore, as far as the trainers and teachers are concerned, this will facilitate the process of imparting the necessary knowledge and other relevant skills to the target audience in order for the campaign to achieve success. The inherent key characteristics, such as patience, caring, and excellent endurance, among nurses and other healthcare professionals who establish direct contact with the homeless will help them to better understand and comprehend virtually everything concerning or being related to the campaign. In addition, the ethical and professional competence of the target audience will be an additional advantage in achieving the success of the campaign and thus will cause it to appear more reliable and promising. Based on the experience of the audience, their vast cultural knowledge will be advantageous as far as addressing the dilemmas and conflicts of values in nursing practice is concerned (Stacey, Johnston, Stickley, & Diamond, 2011, p. 22). This will undoubtedly contribute to the good learning experience not only of the trainers but also of the trainees concerning this healthcare education message. The campaign will benefit from a large number of nurses with a fair understanding of English that will be used in the training. However, translators will also be available to help those with low proficiency in English. In addition, nurses will have a better understanding of some of the technical language as many technical terms will be used during the training. Therefore, these factors will help the audience to form a better understanding of important matter and thus enhance the effectiveness and productiveness of the campaign.
This program will encompass a number of planned training sessions that will be held at least twice a week within a period of three weeks and will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This period will be enough to cover all the necessary learning materials as well as accomplish the objectives of the campaign. At the end of the campaign, the learners will have a fair understanding of the mental illness issue and its effects on the homeless apart from the fact that mental illness forms one of the largest causes of homelessness across the world. The learners will also have learned other causes of mental disorders among homeless people and the facts behind mental illness not only in their areas of operation but also across the world in relation to the available statistics that will help them to understand the seriousness of the problem. The learners will also cover the effects of the mental health disorders among the homeless and analyze each of the effects and the ways of effective implementation of the control measures.
In addition, the audience will be exposed to the realities surrounding the disparity in mental health services. Moreover, the learners will determine the best ways to tackle this problem in a bid to bridge the gap in order to make the most vital services available to the identified vulnerable population (Scott, 1993, p. 316). Besides, the learners will be given an opportunity to form discussion groups that will run for one and a half hour as a way of engaging them to form a perfect understanding of the big picture and find or create as many solutions as possible as far as the ultimate goal of the campaign is concerned. More importantly, the audience will receive help in understanding the significance of the role that they play in providing necessary healthcare to the homeless.
Therefore, the campaign will not only equip them with the skills and knowledge of providing healthcare services to homeless people but will also empower them to spearhead the move towards transforming healthcare services in order to make such crucial aid as mental healthcare services available to the highly susceptible population on almost all streets across the major towns in the world. The classes will run under a branded name of “Kick Mental Illness Out of the Streets,” which will become a catchphrase that will be mentioned throughout the sessions in order to place the emphasis on the seriousness of the problem that the homeless and mentally ill people face in the streets. Notably, the classes will focus on increasing the awareness about the major problem of mental illness that the homeless of various age groups face and the ways to increase the availability of mental healthcare services to the most vulnerable population (Goldbach, Amaro, Vega, & Walter, 2015, p. 13).
The brief outline to achieve these learning outcomes will be as follows.
Day 1: Introduction to mental illnesses and their effects on the homeless
Day 2: Brainstorming the strategies to deal with mental illnesses, class discussions, and presentations
Day 3: Continuous class sessions on the causes of mental problems among the homeless and the strategic ways of dealing with these issues
Day 4: Explication of the connection between mental illnesses, drug abuse, and homelessness
Day 5: Proceeding to the field to interact with the homeless with such problems and providing them with the required support
Day 6: Effective learning of the ways to guide homeless individuals suffering from mental illnesses and ensuring that they are able to recover
Every training session will incorporate instructional sub-sessions as well as a recap of the previous coursework, discussion groups, question sessions, and suggestions in a bid to engage the audience in the best way possible. This will ultimately ensure the success of the campaign as far as the learning objectives are concerned. At the end of every session, the learners will have a twenty-minute break to enjoy some snacks. What is even more important, the nurses will have a day outside in the field, which means going in the streets where they will be required to engage homeless people in some kind of conversation in a bid to familiarize themselves with the reality and understand how to help these people more efficiently.
The outcomes for the learners that were formulated in conjunction with the instructional design technique include the following:
- The nurses will know that it is their responsibility to provide healthcare services to any person regardless of who they are and social status.
- The nurses will understand their role in providing the community with mental healthcare as far as the homeless population is
- The nurses will learn and appreciate their role in primary healthcare as well as secondary healthcare services to the homeless.
- Mental healthcare nurses will learn about advocacy, especially those who hold policy positions in various health organizations to advocate availability of mental healthcare services to the homeless.
- The nurses will endeavor to commence their own private practice as a part of the crucial role they can play to reduce the increasing growth of mental health complications among homeless individuals.
- The nurses will understand the importance of helping the disadvantaged group to gain access to high quality and efficient healthcare services in relation to mental disorders because of the fact that this forms a part of their daily practice.
- The nurses will build the confidence in fighting the plight that mentally ill and homeless individuals face and therefore work towards making necessary mental healthcare services available.
- In addition, the nurses and other mental healthcare specialists will learn how to approach mental problems among homeless individuals given their different situations compared to a case involving a victim who is not homeless.
The campaign sought the necessary partnership with the Cultural Competence Action Team (CCAT) that will work with the training team to augment the trainees’ efforts to embrace and cultivate a high degree of cultural and linguistic competence in the nursing practice. This is also performed in collaboration with the translators who have high proficiency in English and sufficient understanding of the issue. Determination of the appropriateness of the literacy level was done through online registration and application where each eligible participant was asked to indicate their literacy level for early planning and smooth running of the program.
The campaign will incorporate an evaluation plan that will encompass both formative and summative evaluation plans in a bid to gauge the effectiveness and reliability of the campaign as far as addressing the plight of mentally ill and homeless individuals is concerned. A pilot project that will be reviewed by expert trainers will be conducted in a bid to check how well the trainees grasped the content of the campaign. This will also help to determine whether the objectives of the campaign were all captured for the success of the campaign. Moreover, before the commencement of a session, the trainees will be given a questionnaire in relation to the upcoming session content in order to find the ways to effectively educate the audience on various critical issues.
On the other hand, the summative evaluation will take place at the end of every session, whereby the trainees will be given a questionnaire with the questions similar to the prior one in order to check the impact of the training and interaction and be able to determine whether the program has encouraged the nurses to act or not. This will essentially demonstrate whether the trainees have gained the required knowledge and skills in accordance with the learning objectives for the success of the campaign. Apart from the questionnaire given at the end of every session, the nurses will be asked to write a report that will cover everything learned from the first day to the end. The report will be submitted a week after the end of the campaign.