City of Hialeah community is located in Miami-Dade, Fl. The population of the community is approximately twenty hundred thousand citizens or more; the community borders Miami. Various services (police, fire, water and sewer, etc.), as well as low-cost or free education programs, are available to citizens. The identified vulnerable population is poor people or people with a low income. The purpose of the paper is to assess the opportunities available to the vulnerable population in the community, understand how available services influence their life, and identify what problems related to the group a community a nurse could affect.
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Vulnerable Population Overview
The identified vulnerable population is people with a low income. Although not very visibly present, these people can experience severe difficulties in maintaining the satisfactory quality of life in this community due to high real estate costs and expensive health care services. The rising prices of dwelling units and rent, the economic development of the community, and the increasing cost of health insurance have adversely influenced this population. The increased cost of health care services resulted in restricted access to various screenings (including cancer) for the vulnerable population.
Strengths, Risk Factors, Barriers
The strengths that influence this population are various recreation and education programs available at a low cost or for free for community residents, including after-school and camp programs, adult centers with lunch programs for seniors, a therapeutic recreation center for adults with disabilities, parks, pools, theater, annual city-wide events, etc. (City of Hialeah, 2017).
Risk factors that influence the group are unemployment and mental health issues. As Butterworth, Leach, Pirkis, and Kelaher (2012) point out, unemployment per se is a common problem, whereas mental illnesses (e.g., anxiety and/or depression) can significantly impact the person’s time in unemployment. Individuals with a low income can experience prolonged psychological distress due to unemployment, thus remaining in the vicious circle of being unavailable to find a job and enduring poorer mental health and problems related to it. In order to address this issue, Butterworth et al. (2012) argue that local and national governments need to provide workforce programs that will help people with mental illnesses remain employed. Additionally, community-based programs that target people with poor mental health can also improve their psychological well-being.
An existing barrier is the unavailability of quality health care services for an affordable price. Not all individuals with a low income are eligible for Medicaid, but they often lack resources to purchase even the most basic type of insurance. Additionally, the high cost of living in the community also decreases their chances to obtain insurance and find affordable health care services.
The identified community health resources include Health Choice Networks, Little Havana Activities & Nutrition Center, and Volunteers of America (Yellow Pages, 2017). The first two organizations provide quality health, nutrition, and counseling services to individuals in need, including people living in poverty, seniors, runaways, refugees, and people exposed to domestic violence and/or abuse. Adult day care, child day care, and adult education are also available to low-income individuals. Volunteers of America provide assistance for citizens in need, including food, clothes, material support (donations), etc. However, there are little to no resources that provide mental health services, affordable acute care, pregnancy counseling, and family/individual therapy. The identified resources provide basic opportunities, whereas any complex medical interventions are available only in hospitals and are not affordable. More health care services for poor people are necessary.
Community Health Problem Diagnosis
The identified community health problems are mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression common among people living in poverty or with a low income. Additional counseling on mental health hygiene, lectures on the impact of anxiety and depression on the quality of life, and a community survey could positively influence the population’s ability to address and cope with the problem. Furthermore, counseling services and psychological help (e.g., a hotline) could also be helpful to the vulnerable population in decreasing the overall levels of stress in them. Family therapy could be useful in addressing struggles and issues endured by couples living in poverty. The community nurse could also arrange child counseling to evaluate the impact of poverty on community children and assess their physical and mental health.
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The identified Healthy People 2020 objective related to the vulnerable population is “MHMD-8. Increase the proportion of persons with serious mental illness (SMI) who are employed” (US Department of Health and Human Services: Healthy People 2020, 2016, para. 8).
The identified vulnerable group is people living in poverty or with a low income who are unable to find affordable health care services and real estate due to the community’s high cost of living. The lack of sufficient services, the risk of developing mental disorders, and unemployment adversely influence the physical and psychological well-being of this group. The poor mental health of people living in poverty needs to be addressed by a local government; it is possible to launch additional counseling services, a center for mental health control, workshops addressing the impact of poverty and unemployment on one’s mental state, and adult/child care services. To conclude, lacking community resources negatively influence the quality of life of the vulnerable population.
Butterworth, P., Leach, L. S., Pirkis, J., & Kelaher, M. (2012). Poor mental health influences risk and duration of unemployment: A prospective study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 47(6), 1013-1021.
City of Hialeah. (2017). About Hialeah. Web.
US Department of Health and Human Services: Healthy People 2020. (2016). Mental health and mental disorders. Web.
Yellow Pages. (2017). Hialeah, FL. Web.