Mental Illness, a Vulnerable Population

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Mental Illness A Vulnerable Population Cynthia Francisco, RN NUR/440 April 28, 2011 Betty Jones, RN, MSN Mental Illness A Vulnerable Population Mental Illness Mental illness is a set of mental disorders that affect the cognitive and social function of a person. According to the Surgeon General (n.d.), “Mental disorders are characterized by abnormalities in cognition, emotion or mood, or the highest integrative aspects of behavior, such as social interactions or planning of future activities.” Mental illness involves disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, post- traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety, to name a few. The mentally ill is a vulnerable population. A persistent stigma is associated with mental illness and the mentally ill are affected in a negative way because of this stigma. They are looked down on by society and viewed as unproductive members of society. This makes the mentally ill vulnerable to homelessness and isolation from the world. Personal Awareness The mentally ill have little support from society. Not many resources are available for these people. Once diagnosed, the stigma starts and it becomes difficult for them to hold a job or to find a job. Support is needed to encourage compliance with their mental health care such as attending regular psychiatric appointments so that their symptoms are monitored and managed. Medication compliance is a major issue with these patients. Without the proper medication regimen, these patients can be dysfunctional and could not hold a job or interact socially. They may become dysfunctional as husbands, wives, or parents. They also run the risk of hospitalization for uncontrolled symptoms. Having worked in the mental health field, encounters with these patients have changed my personal view of mental illness. These people are just as
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