Vulnerable Population Summary and Proposed Program

Tameko Palmore

Professor Martha Jennings

HCA430 Special Populations

The University of Arizona Global Campus

March 28, 2022

Vulnerable Population Summary and Proposed Program

There is a 20% to 50% probability of a patient dying by suicide during one’s professional career and mental health care provider training. Institutions, professional organizations, and government agencies have developed policies and procedures for managing suicidal patients to lower suicide risk and reduce or eliminate suicides (Shi & Stevens, 2022). Additionally, case law has evolved over the last several decades to allow for filing malpractice actions against hospitals or clinicians who treat patients who die due to self-injury due to professional negligence. Based on the APAIT (American Psychological Association Insurance Trust) data, suicide was the sixth most prevalent kind of claim, with the second most money paid on such claims (Shi & Stevens, 2022). It is evident that patients’ lives are highly valued, and suicide is frequently seen as a dire consequence.

Suicide has been analyzed from various angles, the most prevalent of moralist, libertarian, and relativist perspectives. Protecting life and avoiding self-harm is a moral imperative for moralists. According to (), philosophers such as Kant viewed humanity as an end in and of itself. It indicates that the person should be viewed as the goal in itself rather than merely as a means. Thus, a person considering suicide is viewed employing the self as a means to an end, with an anticipated outcome, rather than an aim in itself, which Kantians find unacceptable.

On the other hand, from a libertarian perspective, suicide may be a deliberate act, frequently justified as a logical approach to avert pain or suffering. Libertarians embrace individual liberty and consider suicide to be a right. The mindset is seen in nations that have decriminalized suicide behavior or legalized euthanasia (Shi & Stevens, 2022). Additionally to this notion, the right to suicide includes the right to be uninvolved in one’s death, although this is not often enshrined in formal legislation.

Suicides and murders among children, adolescents, and young people are on the rise in the US. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported in 2019 that between 2007 and 2017, suicide rates among Americans aged 10 to 27 increased by more than 55%. Statistically, it changed from around 6.9 deaths per 100,000 individuals to more than 10.5; the rate had been constant throughout the preceding seven years (Shi & Stevens, 2022). However, homicide rates in the same age range dropping between 2007 and 2014 surged by almost 20% between 2014 and 2019. The data identified the change from 6.5 to 8.0 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants (Shi & Stevens, 2022).

Just as culture affects how people evaluate their physical health, culture also affects how individuals perceive their mental health problems. Prolonged stress has been scientifically proven to aggravate pre-existing depression or cause deep depression. Additionally, PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is associated with an increased risk of suicide, and psychologists assert that trauma may occur in one’s surroundings (Crowder & Kemmelmeier, 2017). In other words, economic traumas such as lacking income or insufficient income to support oneself and family members can promote suicidal and homicidal tendencies among people of an affected community. The notion is prominently apparent in low-income neighborhoods where crime is high compared to other regions. Lastly, the various cultures present in contemporary American society also contribute to homicidal and suicidal tendencies as it dictates how the community operates (Crowder & Kemmelmeier, 2017). In other words, without a proper appreciation of cultural settings, it can have a negative impact of augmenting suicidal and homicidal tendencies.

It should be noted that though culture and income address social and economic aspects, the political realm also contributes to the behaviors of the vulnerable people being addressed (Stroebe, 2016). The body of evidence indicates that legislation enhancing social welfare spending and other regulations aiding low-income individuals (e.g., minimum wage) help to decrease suicide and homicide rates (Crowder & Kemmelmeier, 2017). Other legislative changes, including those limiting access to guns and alcohol, could also help prevent suicides and homicide (Stroebe, 2016). Marriage and parenting as social institutions continue to be essential mechanisms against suicidal behavior, even though the level of protection is frequently gender-specific.

Proposed Solution

           From the analysis of the vulnerable community or group, it is evident that the problem is not solely on the individual somewhat. The group’s actions are influenced by the community/culture, politics, and economy (McCourt, 2021). In other words, to address the issue effectively, preventive and long-term measures must be implemented for an effective outcome. The proposed program introduced in the communities with such vulnerable groups would be education. As earlier identified, most deaths from homicide and suicide are influenced by culture, the economy, and politics (McCourt, 2021). Therefore, by educating the public and the affected community, such vulnerable groups can be understood.     

           The approach entails implementing educational information in school curricula; the strategy is preventive and has long-term implications. It addresses risks such as misinformation, which has highly polarized the country from a cultural, political, and economic perspective (McCourt, 2021). It is regarded as long-term as it addresses generational awareness, meaning that each generation of students and community members is imparted with correct and factual information that can help address their issues promoting suicidal and homicidal thoughts. From a general perspective, the educational approach may not be practical as it lacks the aptitude to address the current issues faced by vulnerable groups (McCourt, 2021). For such reasons, a temporary plan or short-term objective would be the implementation of counseling centers. The centers would not be limited to the vulnerable group but open to the public; the intention is to have a large-scale positive impact on every community.


Crowder, M., & Kemmelmeier, M. (2017). New Insights on Cultural Patterns of Suicide in the United States: The Role of Honor Culture. Cross-Cultural Research51(5), 521-548.

McCourt, A. (2021). Firearm Access and Suicide: Lethal Means Counseling and Safe Storage Education in a Comprehensive Prevention Strategy. American Journal Of Public Health111(2), 185-187.

Shi, L., & Stevens, G. (2022). Vulnerable Populations in the United States (2nd ed.). Jossey-Bass.

Stroebe, W. (2016). Firearm Availability and Violent Death: The Need for a Culture Change in Attitudes toward Guns. Analyses Of Social Issues And Public Policy16(1), 7-35.

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