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Health People 2010, Coursework Example

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Words: 1028

Coursework

The health and wellness of an individual and the community is certainly dependent on a variety of factors. In fact, physical condition is not the only measure to indicate good health, rather, individual traits or characteristics, one’s environment and other such factors can influence health. Obtaining health information within the public health setting, therefore allows officials to identify health behaviors, predict consequent health status and thereby create comprehensive programs and policies for overall health improvement and outlook.

Public health or community health aims to improve the overall health of any given population. The area of public health implements interventions such as immunization program, safe food and water sources, car safety and other such regulations that contribute to the health and wellness of the community. In determining the needs of the community, public health workers are required to conduct a community health assessment, which involves obtaining pertinent information or data that would identify the health needs and current health status of a given community.

In a publication by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (2000), the initiative “Healthy People 2010” was released detailing 467 specific health objectives for the decade. The 467 objectives are further grouped into 28 key areas, however, some critics question its reliability and ability to achieve goals (Mckee & Fulop, 2000). Indicators included in the  Healthy People program include both individual and community indicators such as obesity, sexual behavior, tobacco use, access to healthcare, quality of the environment, and mental health to name a few. The program also focuses on regular and timely reporting

In identifying key health indicators, non-medical factors continue to influence community health and wellness. This can be addressed through educating the public. One such example is the online guide published by the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. The guide contains health information about a wide range of subjects such as vaccination, tobacco use, sexual health and such that are evidence-based. Monitoring and reporting is another aim in the Healthy People program. However, monitoring and tracking is easier said than done as it can take up a substantial amount of resources and funds. Another important aspect is the analysis of data and ensuring that analyzed data is reliable and credible. It is essential to develop communication methods for reporting data and findings in order to disseminate information to the public. Media strategies would have a stronger impact to the public and it also serves as an educational tool for the public or community

In joining the military, it is imperative that an individual is in good physical and mental condition. However, it is those leaving the military that can develop a wide range of mental health problems brought about by the experiences and conditions they endured during their service. Some veterans may experience anxiety in various stages, depression, alcohol and substance abuse as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. These problems are often magnified when they end their careers and become simply civilians. With the increasing number of individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and even sexual trauma, there is now an increasing need for both public and private entities to address the needs of veterans. Furthermore, if left untreated, veterans with these disorders can experience more damaging consequences. These disorders may lead to a host of other psychological problems, the most serious of which, is becoming suicidal and attempting to kill themselves. They are also more prone to engage in unsafe and risk behavior such as engaging in unprotected sex, smoking, drinking and over-binging on food, thus leading to physical health problems and considerably decreasing their life span. At work, individuals with these conditions are often less productive and prone to miss work, thus affecting their employability. As such, there is a possible relationship between these conditions and homelessness. Veterans who suffer from the above mentioned disorders also affect the people around them, particularly their family. This can lead to impaired and dysfunctional relationships that can disrupt their marriage and cause difficulties in parenting. There is also a strong implication that consequences of these dysfunctional relationships can extend throughout the generations, thus having a far-reaching impact.

Significantly, many veterans do not often seek help nor access basic services that might aid them in overcoming these problems. The mental health of veterans significantly has a high economic and social cost associated with loss of productivity, strained relationships, homelessness, violence and possible suicide. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the community and the nation to attempt to address t he needs of veterans with mental health problems and increase access to care. Tanielian & Jaycox (2008) provides several recommendations in order to improve the understanding of veterans regarding mental health. Firstly, there is a need to improve the mental health care system through the creation of programs dedicated to the provision of treatment for veterans with mental health. Consequently, there is also a need to train more workers and providers in this capacity within the United States healthcare system. Secondly, policies should be developed that would encourage health care access among veterans. They should be informed that services are fully confidential in order to facilitate health care access. Thirdly, all providers should be capable to deliver basic, evidence-based care to ensure that veterans get the necessary aid and information in any healthcare facility. This would also aid in the quality improvement measures of providers. Fourthly, this topic calls for further research in order to identify gaps in knowledge and facilitate a better understanding of the conditions experience by veterans. Treatment modalities and rehabilitation programs would also need to be assessed and monitored on their effectiveness and outcomes.

References

McKee, M. & Fulop, N. (2000). On target for health? BMJ. 320:327–328.

Tanielian, T. & Jaycox, L.H. eds. (2008) Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, 492 pp.

Tanielian, T. et al. (2008). Invisible Wounds of War: Summary and Recommendations for Addressing Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, 64 pp.

Task Force on Community Preventive Services (2013). Guide to Community Preventive Services. Retrieved from www.thecommunityguide.org

US Department of Health and Human Services (2000, January). Healthy People 2010. Washington, DC. Retrieved from www.health.gov/healthypeople/

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