Healthcare and personal support are some of the noble courses in the professional world. The premise is mainly motivated by the fact that healthcare and personal support providers often save, change, and improve the quality of life of the people that need their help. With this knowledge, therefore, it is critical to note that these professionals are particularly helpful in palliative care. However, a challenge often arises whenever they are dealing with terminally ill patients. Therefore, it is with the knowledge that the issue of euthanasia and medical assistance in dying comes in. While some professionals and the general public cite points to oppose this aspect of healthcare and personal support, one cannot ignore the fact that it also has a fair deal of positive points. Therefore, this essay explores various articles authored by scholars and authorities in healthcare and personal support to illustrate the importance of euthanasia and its popularity among healthcare scholars and professionals, as well as to clarify how to overcome the challenges that come along with this challenging practice.
Although euthanasia and medical assistance in dying have drawn a great deal of controversy, it is vital to acknowledge their relevance in contemporary society. With this knowledge, it is equally critical to note that healthcare professionals and personal support professionals suggest euthanasia to patients with the patient’s best interests in mind. In as much as this essay recognizes the importance of human life, it equally recognizes the importance of living a decent life. Therefore, whenever the issue of euthanasia comes up, it is critical to consider the dignity of the patient whose last resolve is to terminate their life. This is because most of the patients that opt for it are normally terminally ill.
Additionally, euthanasia is normally conducted in a very humane and dignified manner. As Ho et al. (2021) note, professionals in palliative care make several considerations before performing euthanasia. From a sample population of forty-eight professionals in palliative care, some of the considerations that they make before performing MAiD include advising the patients thoroughly and ensuring that they come up with the decision when they are adequately informed, exhaustively discussing the procedure, and ensuring that the conversion is open-ended (Ho et al., 2021). With this knowledge, therefore, it is justifiable to conclude that the procedure is not inhumane and that people should consider it as it enhances the dignity of a terminally ill patient.
In addition to this, Frolic & Oliphant (2022) offer insightful information on the topic and offer equally insightful data. According to the two scholars, euthanasia accounts for 3.3% of deaths in Canada annually. The scholars also point out the rising demand for MAiD in Canada. Therefore, this illustrates that it is possible to practice it by adhering to societal guidelines and promoting human dignity and respect.
Moreover, the fact that the practice is popular among trainees who bring in a new and contemporary perspective to the practice is a point worth noting. Euthanasia and medical assistance in dying are popular among healthcare students in Canada, with a considerable majority of the students supporting them. According to a research study by McCarthy & Seal (2019), Canadian healthcare students greatly support assistance in dying. The two scholars draw this conclusion after analyzing data collected from a sample population of one hundred and twenty-four students training at Memorial University. A detailed survey of the sample population revealed that 90% of the trainees supported euthanasia, with 60% of them noting that they would confidently perform it ((McCarthy & Seal, 2019). The majority of the trainees opposing it cited religious reasons. With this knowledge, it is vital to note various critical issues that come up from the survey. Firstly, the majority of the sample population, representing most Canadian healthcare trainees support the practice. In this regard, it is equally vital to note that the trainees bring in a new and more contemporary perspective regarding the subject matter. Therefore, it is worth considering their opinion and borrowing their logic.
Furthermore, the practice has been legally acceptable in the Canadian context since 2016 (McCarthy & Seal, 2019). In their study, Khoshnood et al. (2018) explore some of the challenges facing healthcare providers face as far as euthanasia and medical assistance in dying are concerned. The scholars establish that although euthanasia is done with the patient’s dignity and best interest in mind, medical practitioners often find it challenging because, at the bottom line, a human’s life is involved. Furthermore, their research also reveals that out of a sample population of sixteen medics, some of the most common challenges included a strained relationship with objecting colleagues, inadequate compensation, and increased workload (Khoshnood et al., 2018). Moreover, the practice is strictly guided and catered for by the Canada Health Act, and therefore, the general public should have faith in it as it was fully studied and examined before its enactment (Khoshnood et al., 2018).
Frolic, A., & Oliphant, A. (2022). Introducing Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada: Lessons on Pragmatic Ethics and the Implementation of a Morally Contested Practice. HEC Forum, 34(4). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10730-022-09495-7
Ho, A., Norman, J. S., Joolaee, S., Serota, K., Twells, L., & William, L. (2021). How does Medical Assistance in Dying affect end-of-life care planning discussions? Experiences of Canadian multidisciplinary palliative care providers. Palliative Care and Social Practice, 15(1-14), 263235242110459. https://doi.org/10.1177/26323524211045996
Khoshnood, N., Hopwood, M.-C., Lokuge, B., Kurahashi, A., Tobin, A., Isenberg, S., & Husain, A. (2018). Exploring Canadian Physicians’ Experiences Providing Medical Assistance in Dying: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 56(2), 222-229.e1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2018.05.006
McCarthy, R. N., & Seal, M. (2019). Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD): the opinions of medical trainees in Newfoundland and Labrador. A cross-sectional study. Canadian Medical Education Journal, 10(4), e13–e20. https://doi.org/10.36834/cmej.52984
Policy Advocacy For Mental Health Disorders: A Case Of Suicide As A Major Social Problem Essay Sample For College
Introduction and Overview
Identification of the Social Problem/Policy
Suicide is one major social problem related to various mental health disorders, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorders. Moreover, substance use disorders also increase the risks of suicide in various populations. Suicide is a major issue; the experiences range from individuals, families, communities, and society. Suicide rates in the United States are high and a major health problem in the global community. According to Brådvik (2018), suicide contributes to 1.4% of deaths worldwide. In 2015 over 44000 Americans died by suicide through different methods, including using a firearm and hanging/suffocation (Department of Health and Human Services, 2017). The rate of people who die from suicide has increased annually over the last decade, 28 percent, from 2000 to 2015(HHS, 2017). Incidences reported in the emergency department over suicidal ideation have also increased annually over the last decades, 12 percent from 2000 to 2015 (HHS, 2017). In 2019 suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. From 1998 through 2018, suicide rates increased by 35%, with more than 48000 deaths in 2018 alone. Caspani (2020) explains increased suicide risks among the LGBTQ community. Particularly 40 percent of the young LGBTQ individuals in the United States have considered suicide, with suicide attempts increasing significantly over the years.
Suicide relates to psychiatric diseases, mainly psychosis, substance use disorders, and depression. Similarly, organic mental disorders, trauma-related disorders, anxiety, and personality disorders also contribute to the risks of suicide. The risk of suicide for individuals with mental disorders ranges from 5-8% for schizophrenia and depression (Waidzunas, 2012). However, suicide is not aligned with the psychiatrist’s illness but with the experiences of hopelessness, which causes suicidal ideation, and the act of suicidal feelings. Brådvik (2018) explains suicidal feelings and suicidal actions as multifactorial, with socioeconomic conditions causing major implications. Social forces like lack of adequate healthcare facilities or lack of information on various healthcare systems are risk factors for suicide. The risk factors for suicide vary in the community. Adverse childhood experiences(ACE) relates to negative health outcome in adulthood, including depression and suicidal death. Therefore the main focus in addressing this social problem is prevention efforts which are aligned to the
Community Agency that Addresses the Problem
With a need to examine an extensive view of the suicide problem, the Trevor Project provides information on crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth ages 13-24 and implements various interventions to reduce risks. Primarily the agency advocates for policies and laws to reduce suicide among vulnerable groups, particularly young LGBTQ people. Recent findings show suicide is the second leading cause of death for all persons aged 10-24 years. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the main government agency in preventing suicide risks in the United States. The agency commits to leveraging interventions that reduce risk factors’ impact and leverage forces that promote resilience (CDC, 2022). The national center for injury prevention and Control (NCIPC) provides information, resources, and statistics on suicide, suicide risk, and suicide prevention. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also actively supports suicide prevention efforts. The agency has supported various interventions to assess the effectiveness of various prevention programs in different issues relating to behavioral health, including suicide.
Understanding of the Issue
My primary understanding of suicide is that it is a major social challenge that can be accurately estimated. Indeed while suicidal deaths are a clear indicator of the social problem, the main challenge is suicidal thoughts. A recent analysis by the CDC shows more people attempt or think of suicide than the attributed suicide deaths (CDC, 2022). For instance, while 48000 people died of suicide in 2018 in the United States, 10.7 million Americans seriously thought about suicide (CDC, 2022). At this level, interventions are aligned with the risk factors for suicidal behaviors, including social problems such as poverty and unemployment, which increase stress in the community.
The second level of suicide as a social problem is making a suicide plan. Indeed, while the number of people who think of suicide is significantly high, only a major proportion will make efforts for suicide. Of the 10.7 million Americans who seriously thought of suicide in 2018, only 3.3 million made a suicide plan. Suicide attempts signify a lack of resilience to overcome stressful situations. According to Sher (2019), resilience explains the capacity and dynamic process for adapting to overcome stress and adversity and maintain normal psychological and physical functioning amidst stressful events. Individuals and communities with high resilience positively explore the various dynamics of stressful events and make plans to deliver positive outcomes.
The third level of the social problem explains suicide attempts. Of the 3.3 million who planned suicide in 2018, a significant 1.4 million attempted suicide (CDC, 2022). Suicide attempts are a major social problem since it explains environmental factors which promote suicide actions among various individuals. In the psychiatrist’s treatment of patients with suicide attempts building resilience against stress-related disorders is important to reduce death risks. In 2019, 39% of LGBTQ youth attempted suicide, and the risks increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally, suicide is aligned with the reported suicide incidences of death. Building resilience is a protective factor against suicide since Americans in contemporary society live in a highly stressful environment. For the LGBTQ, high suicide incidences are attributed to a lack of opportunity to access mental healthcare services. For individuals experiencing various health challenges, including mental health disorders and substance use disorders, isolation increases the risks of a suicide death.
Although some people can view suicide as an individual problem, it is a social problem. Similarly, suicide is a medical problem because it represents the prevalence of risk factors for mental health disorders within the community (Sher, 2019). For instance, suicide among gay teen and other marginalized groups have increased over time as the impacts of these social dimensions increase (Waidzunas, 2012). Particularly suicide indicates the prevalence of mental health issues among vulnerable groups and barriers to accessing mental health services. For instance, I understand suicide among men as influenced by the prevalence of social stigma, which promotes Stoicism over commitment to seek help. Immigrants have a higher risk of suicide than the native population due to the lack of social connectedness and social capital necessary to survive various life challenges. The immigrant’s language barriers and the separation from their families cause anxiety, hopelessness, and depression. Loss of social networks and loss of status are significant triggers for suicide for individuals with or without major mental health disorders.
Justification of its Impact on the Population
Suicide causes lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. This demands focused and coordinated efforts to reduce the risk of suicide. Suicide has both social and economic effects. According to CDC (2022), suicide has an immense economic effect on society, causing America $ 70 billion annually through lifetime medical and work-loss costs. The impact of suicide is more significant for vulnerable groups, hence the demand for personalized interventions to deliver a positive outcome. For instance, LGBTQ youth are very likely to attempt suicide than their peers.
Solution (s) Advocacy
Proposed Solution and Reasons (Suicide Prevention among Vulnerable Youth)
The proposed solution is the comprehensive prevention of suicide among LGBTQ youth in Rural America. This policy proposal is aligned with the need to address the specific risks of suicide thoughts, suicide plans, suicide attempts, and suicide deaths among adolescents and young people from vulnerable groups. The definition of the vulnerable population in this policy is ethnic, gender, sex, age, and social class population with limited access to healthcare services. Since all the LGBTQ members of the rural community are not the same, factors that increase the vulnerability to suicide increase in some groups and vary in others. Living in a tight-knit community is important to increase the sense of connectedness but increases the suicide risks among marginalized groups. Particularly LGBTQ youth and racial minorities have unique risk factors which need a clearly defined policy program.
However, the policy does not cover the middle-aged and elderly groups assumed to have significantly greater resilience to stressful life events. In this proposal, Trevor’s project capitalizes on the dimensions of care related to intersectionality. Primarily suicide prevention strategies range from enhanced competencies of medical healthcare practitioners to enhance diagnosis and treatment and reduced access to the means of suicide (Zalsman et al., 2017). The overall objective is to reduce suicide attempts and incidences within the population. Within the vulnerable groups, there are limited resources; hence it is necessary to optimize utilization to increase effectiveness and efficiency.
Suicide prevention is very important since the country is becoming sicker. Depression and other critical mental health diseases are inevitable, so building resilience is more important. Trevor’s project review of empirical evidence shows suicide prevention should be transformed to integrate measures of injury prevention and mental health perspectives. The proposed public health perspective must explore the diversity of the population and respond to current and emerging needs.
Expected Changes for the Population Impacted by the Issue
The suicide prevention strategy for the American youth is expected to reduce morbidity and mortality rates. Reported suicide incidences and attempted suicide within the target populations’ communities should be reduced. According to Caine (2013), forging an agenda for suicide prevention in America is aligned with reducing the increasing rates of suicide in the community. Indeed while the focus group is young people in rural areas, the intervention strategies focus on changing the behavior of the suicidal persons, their families, and healthcare providers. This is aligned to various suicide risk factors for suicide among the LGBTQ youth living in rural areas for different racial, age, gender, and social class characteristics.
- The suicide prevention strategy will create a sense of connectedness through activities that decrease social isolation.
- The interventions will also increase access to mental and behavioral health services by increasing affordability, leveraging means to access the services, and utilizing different technology tools.
- A suicide prevention strategy will reduce the impact of unemployment and persistent poverty on the emotional well-being of the population.
- The decline in the influence of various social and cultural factors reduces healthcare services utilization among individuals with mental and substance use disorders. Mental illness stigma is a significant factor that prevents help-seeking efforts and increases the threats of suicide.
Impact of the Change on the Social Work Practice
According to the National Association of Social Work Practice, the fundamental principle of the social work practice is to use different social work practices, techniques, and practices to (i) improve population access to tangible services, (ii) provision of counseling services to individuals, families, and group and to (iii) help institutions tooffer and improve social and health services, (iv) and participation in the legislative process. Reducing the mortality and morbidity rates is important in the social work practice to enhance improved well-being in the community.
Unlike healthcare practice, social work practices emphasize the improvement of the overall well-being of the individual. Instead of treating individuals who attempt suicide to build resilience, the prevention program emphasizes resolving various factors that influence suicide (Caine, 2013). Since prevention strategies included will emphasize coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders, the change will improve efforts to resolve various social issues. Specifically, the prevention program to reduce mortality and morbidity (suicide attempts and suicide deaths) will improve access to healthcare services, especially for victims of mental health disorders and substance use disorders.
Implementing the policy program and reducing suicide rates will leverage the capacity of various institutions in the community. Particularly there are different institutions in the community, including hospitals, community health centers, non-governmental organizations, and community groups with efforts to prevent suicide rates. However, very few individuals understand evidence-based measures to build resilience and reduce the risks of suicide deaths in the community. First, all stakeholders will clearly understand the issue of race and ethnicity and how various social factors affect healthcare utilization. The NASW commits to leveraging social justice and ending racism, thus emphasizing efforts to reduce discrimination and prejudice directed at the LGBTQ and immigrants, which damage the economic, emotional, and social well-being of the local community and the American Society.
How Recommendations corresponds with Social Work Values, Policy Positions, and Ethics
Prevention of suicide among LGBTQ youth is consistent with social work values, policy positions, and ethics, which emphasize the well-being of marginalized groups in the community. The LGBTQ faces discrimination from families, peers, the community, and healthcare systems. The primary role of social work is to ensure the population is not discriminated against in the suicide prevention strategy. To ensure that LGBTQ access quality healthcare services without discrimination, diversity and inclusion are important factors in the policy programs. Staff and volunteer leadership in the program will emphasize diversity by sex orientation, gender, age, race, and ethnicity to ensure active involvement and address unique concerns. The National Committee on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues is among the key stakeholders in the policy programs and will provide a wide range of insights on leveraging the well-being of the population. Particularly while different institutions hold different views regarding the LGBTQ, this policy emphasizes their importance in every community with significant contributions to society every day.
Advocacy Map for the Planned Advocacy Efforts
Community Partners, Reasons for Selection, and Efforts for Negotiation
The organization partners with corporate partners, institutions, and groups to enhance coordination in suicide prevention strategies across the country. Corporate partners are selected to provide different resources required to implement policy strategies. For instance, a key strategy in the policy is to leverage the use of technology for healthcare services in rural areas. Innovation technology and communication tools are key solutions necessary to implement the policy goals. Similarly, the organization also partners with product partners to advocate for products and services which are aligned with the unique needs and values of the population to improve efficacy and reduce suicidal thoughts.
Institutional and individual funders are also selected to provide the financial and human resources necessary to implement policy programs. Volunteers with knowledge of the socioeconomic factors which influence suicidal thoughts, attempts, and deaths are key partners in providing mental health support. Within the local communities, leaders, including group leaders and schools, are key partners in implementing education efforts. Educating the community and families on the needs of vulnerable youth will reduce suicide attempts and incidences. Negotiation with community partners will include collaboration to leverage the missions and visions of both organizations in improving the well-being of the community. For corporate partners, communication of the opportunities and challenges of the policy programs is important to influence the review of their strategic priorities.
Advocacy targets, Reasons for Selection, and Approaches for Persuasion
The primary advocacy targets for suicide prevention strategy include the federal, state, and local government policymakers, government and private agencies involved in suicide interventions, and professional organizations involved in mental healthcare services. First, the policymakers are selected for legislation to address various concerns, including the socioeconomic factors which influence suicidal thoughts, attempts, and deaths. For instance, policy efforts to control the use of firearms are important to reduce suicide incidences among the youth (Timsina et al., 2020). The accessibility of firearms is a major factor that influences suicide among the youth. Government and private agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, and SAMHSA, have a key role in the advocacy and implementation of the policy programs. These institutions have the up to date information on the extent of the healthcare challenges and the necessary measures needed to improve the health outcome of the population. Comprehensive public health intervention (s) are important to achieve positive health outcomes and reduce suicide risks for the target population. For instance, the CDC has the political goodwill and knowledge on the mental health trajectory of specific healthcare populations for communication of unique healthcare needs.
Policy Strategies or Tactics to Implement to Bring About the Change
Different policy strategies are recommended to reduce suicide risks in the population. The first strategy is to reduce stigma in communities. Primarily the stigma against mental health disorders is high among LGBTQ living in rural areas where people live in a tight-knit community. Opening up on stressful events is difficult for LGBTQ youth due to personal interactions with mental health providers and life coaches. To minimize the spread of news about the mental health conditions of various individuals, counseling, and education interventions are important to address the rural cultural norms which leverage stigma. For instance, individualism and Stoicism are critical rural cultural values that impact help-seeking and thus increase the risks of suicide.
The second strategy is to increase access to behavioral and mental health services designed to meet the unique needs of the population. The LGBTQ youth in rural areas faces economic and social challenges in accessing healthcare services. Some interventions include leveraging access to telehealth services, integration of mental healthcare and primary care services, and improved health insurance coverage. Public programs to provide health insurance improve access to healthcare services through improved affordability. The use of video, telephone, and web-based technologies to provide care at a distance is effective for emergency mental health services to treat a range of mental health conditions (CDC, 2018). While LGBTQ youth with suicidal thoughts seeks primary care services, they are less likely to seek mental healthcare, and hence it is effective to integrate primary care with mental health.
Another suicide prevention strategy necessary for the target population is a collaboration with different community groups and institutions to increase social connectedness and reduce the risk of suicide. Peer norm programs in the local community through different organizations to encourage help-seeking and improve connectedness is important for behavioral and social change (CDC, 2018). Promoting the unavailability of lethal methods of suicide, including firearms, requires active collaboration between various community stakeholders.
Timeline for the Advocacy Project
The timeline for the advocacy project is 12 months. During this period, various activities are completed to enhance the implementation of the policy programs. The activities include a review of risk factors for the social problems and evidence-based strategies, negotiation with potential community partners, review of current solutions or situations, persuasion of the advocacy partners, and review of recommendations and implementation of the proposed strategies.
|0-3 months||Research on risk factors and evidence-based strategies|
|3rd -4th||Negotiation with different community partners|
|5th– 8th month||Review of current solutions/ Current state|
|9th – 10th months||Policy Advocacy|
|11th– 12th||Policy review and implementation of the policy programs|
Evaluation of the Advocacy Efforts
Process measures, including coordination and collaboration with the community partners, are key in the evaluation of the advocacy efforts. Community partners’ design of common policy goals and objectives is important for coordinated advocacy for change. For advocacy, partners buy into the description of the issue, and the solution from different perspectives is necessary. Conflicts of interest between different groups must be minimal for successful advocacy and resolving of social problems. Another key measure of the advocacy efforts is the alignment of the goals and objectives with unique requirements in the overall social work practice.
Monitor Policy/ Problem once the Advocacy Efforts are Over
Legislation, including development, implementation, and review, are key indicators to monitor policy/problem following the advocacy efforts. Policymakers’ buy-in and integration of policy recommendations in the national agenda is an important milestone in promoting change. For the successful completion of the project and implementation of the policy programs, consistency with the mission and vision of various government bodies and agencies is significant.
The policy advocacy for mental health disorders(suicide prevention among rural American youth) has enhanced the development of three core course competencies. First, the policy integrates the NASW ethical codes, including social justice for all, in the efforts to reduce discrimination against marginalized groups. Second the policy advocates for the rights of marginalized populations in the community, including the poor, youth, and those living in rural areas. The recommendations made in the policy proposal advance social justice by improving the well-being of the target population. Finally, the policy advocacy process involves efforts to identify current policy on suicide prevention and recommends a solution to improve outcomes. Differences in access to healthcare services are a major factor that increases suicide rates among the target population. I have learned some important lessons from my knowledge, skills, competencies, values, and interests from completing the advocacy paper. Particularly I am committed to addressing social problems from the perspective of marginalized groups. Every individual has basic human rights, which must be leveraged in the policy process and interventions at the local, state, and national levels.
Brådvik, L. (2018). Suicide risk and mental disorders. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(9), 2028. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15092028
Caine, E. D. (2013). Forging an agenda for suicide prevention in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 103(5), 822–829. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2012.301078
Caspani, M. (2020, July 15). A survey finds 40% of U.S. LGBTQ youth considered suicide in past year. U.S. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-lgbt-youth-idUSKCN24G1S7
CDC. (2018, October 19). Suicide policy brief | CSELS | OPHSS | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ruralhealth/suicide/policybrief.html
CDC. (2022, July 19). Suicide prevention | Health topics | Polaris | ADP for policy and strategy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/policy/polaris/healthtopics/suicide/index.html
Department of Health and Human Services. (2017). National Strategy for Suicide Prevention Implementation Assessment Report (863-890). SAMHSA. https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma17-5051.pdf
National Association of Social Workers. (n.d.). Practice; Ethnicity & Race. https://www.socialworkers.org/Practice
Sher, L. (2019). Resilience as a focus of suicide research and prevention. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 140(2), 169–180. https://doi.org/10.1111/acps.13059
Timsina, L. R., Qiao, N., Mongalo, A. C., Vetor, A. N., Carroll, A. E., & Bell, T. M. (2020). National instant criminal background check and youth gun carrying. Pediatrics, 145(1). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-1071
Waidzunas, T. (2012). Young, gay, and suicidal: Dynamic nominalism and the process of defining a social problem with statistics. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 37(2), 199-225. https://doi.org/10.1177/0162243911402363
Zalsman, G., Hawton, K., Wasserman, D., Van Heeringen, K., Arensman, E., Sarchiapone, M., Carli, V., Höschl, C., Barzilay, R., Balazs, J., Purebl, G., Kahn, J. P., Sáiz, P. A., Lipsicas, C. B., Bobes, J., Cozman, D., Hegerl, U., & Zohar, J. (2017). Suicide prevention strategies revisited: a 10-year systematic review. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(7), 646-659. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2215-0366(16)30030-x
The Information-Seeking Behavior Of People With Disabilities Writing Sample
The goal of this study is to investigate the information-seeking behaviour of people with disabilities in a variety of circumstances. The article examines the difficulties that persons with disabilities have while attempting to access and use digital media, healthcare, transportation, and other services. Furthermore, the paper explores the attitudes of parents of disabled youth toward physical exercise and the necessity for building accessible interactive technologies to facilitate educating children with impairments.
Individuals with impairments are the target audience for this publication. Accessing and using different services and technology presents unique difficulties and experiences for people with impairments. The study will concentrate on the information-seeking behaviour of persons with disabilities and their carers in various situations, such as digital media, healthcare, transportation, and education. The sources gave a complete picture of the problems and requirements of persons with disabilities when accessing information and services.
The article will be organized as follows: first, we will examine the research on the information-seeking behaviour of people with disabilities, with an emphasis on the difficulties they confront in obtaining and utilizing information and services. Second, we will investigate the attitudes of parents of disabled children toward physical exercise and the constraints they face in accessing sports facilities. Third, we will explore the necessity for developing accessible interactive technologies to assist teachers in educating children with impairments. Fourth, we will examine how people with impairments access digital media and how digital health literacy affects their health information-seeking behaviour. Finally, we will summarize the main results and implications for future study and practice. We will use the chosen sources to support our arguments and suggestions throughout the article.
Theme 1: Information needs of the user population
Baumgartner et al. (2021) found that people with disabilities have specific information needs related to their disabilities, such as information about assistive technology and accessible public transportation. Kynoch et al. (2019) found that patients and families in acute healthcare settings have information needs related to their conditions and treatments.
Theme 2: Information-seeking behaviours
Jaks et al. (2019) found that parents of children with disabilities use digital health-seeking behaviours to find information about their child’s health. Gibson and Martin III (2019) found that parents of individuals with disabilities experience information marginalization and face challenges in seeking and accessing information.
Theme 3: Information sources
Baumgartner et al. (2021) found that people with disabilities use a variety of information sources, including personal contacts, social media, and disability-specific websites and forums. Kynoch et al. (2019) found that patients and families in acute healthcare settings rely on healthcare providers as their primary information source.
Theme 4: Barriers and Challenges to accessing information
Baumgartner et al. (2021) found that people with disabilities face barriers and challenges in accessing information, such as inaccessible websites and a lack of knowledge about available resources. Gibson and Martin III (2019) found that parents of individuals with disabilities face information marginalization and experience barriers to accessing information.
Theme 5: Information Literacy and Skills
Flórez-Aristizábal et al. (2019) emphasized the importance of designing interactive tools to support teaching children with disabilities and developing information literacy skills. Zakar et al. (2021) found that university students in Pakistan have varying levels of digital health literacy, which may affect their health information-seeking behaviours.
Theme 6: Technology use
Baumgartner et al. (2021) found that people with disabilities use various types of technology, including smartphones and assistive technology, to access information. Wu et al. (2020) developed a mobile-based barrier-free service transportation platform to assist people with disabilities in accessing transportation services.
Theme 7: Health information behaviour
Columna et al. (2020) found that parents of youth with disabilities have positive attitudes towards physical activity but face barriers to participation and require specific information related to adapted physical activity. Mhiripiri and Midzi (2021) highlighted the activism of persons with disabilities in fighting for the mediatization of COVID-19 information.
Theme 8: Other relevant themes
Qi and Hu (2020) emphasized the importance of including people with disabilities in emergency preparedness and response plans for COVID-19. Zakar et al. (2021) found that university students in Pakistan have increased their health information-seeking behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Summary of Findings
The literature reviewed shows that individuals with disabilities have specific information needs related to their disabilities and face barriers and challenges in accessing information. They use various types of technology to access information and rely on a variety of information sources. Information-seeking behaviours vary depending on the user population and the context, and health information behaviour is an essential aspect of information-seeking for individuals with disabilities. Developing information literacy and skills is necessary to support the information needs of individuals with disabilities, and including them in emergency preparedness and response plans is crucial. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of health information-seeking behaviour and the use of technology for individuals with disabilities.
The population chosen for this analysis is individuals with disabilities, and the references provided cover various research topics related to their information behaviour. Some significant research questions that have driven past studies into this population’s information behaviour are: What are the information needs and seeking behaviours of individuals with disabilities, and how do they differ from those of individuals without disabilities? What are the barriers to accessing and using information for individuals with disabilities, and how can these barriers be overcome?
How can technology be used to improve access to information and communication for individuals with disabilities, and what factors influence their adoption of these technologies? How do the information behaviours of parents and caregivers of individuals with disabilities impact the health and well-being of individuals and their families? How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the information behaviour of individuals with disabilities, and what are the implications for their health and well-being? These questions reflect a growing awareness of the importance of understanding the information behaviour of individuals with disabilities and the barriers they face in accessing and using information.
Previous research has shown that individuals with disabilities often face significant challenges in accessing and using information, including a lack of access to assistive technologies, limited access to digital resources, and low levels of digital literacy. Understanding these barriers is essential to developing effective interventions and policies to improve the information behaviour and outcomes of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of ensuring that individuals with disabilities access accurate and timely health information. As such, researchers and policymakers need to continue to investigate the information behaviour of individuals with disabilities and to develop strategies to address the barriers they face in accessing and using information.
Problems with Information Behaviour
People with disabilities experience various issues when acquiring and using information. The abovementioned research shed light on some of the most critical aspects affecting this population’s information behaviour. The digital gap, which restricts access to technology and the internet, is a significant problem. People with disabilities experience challenges in accessing and utilizing digital devices, which affects their capacity to use digital information sources, according to Baumgartner et al. (2021). Another concern is the marginalization of information. Gibson and Martin III (2019) highlight how parents of disabled children might face information poverty or a lack of access to the knowledge they need to make educated choices regarding their child’s care.
Furthermore, persons with disabilities face substantial challenges due to a lack of accessible information and technology. Flórez-Aristizábal et al. (2019) emphasize the need to create accessible interactive technologies for children with impairments since their demands may vary from those of typically developing youngsters. The interaction of disability and other variables, such as culture and language, influences information-seeking behaviour. For example, Zakar et al. (2021) discovered that owing to insufficient digital health literacy, university students with disabilities in Pakistan encounter challenges in obtaining and interpreting health information.
Finally, the COVID-19 epidemic has highlighted new issues for people with impairments. On COVID-19, Mhiripiri and Midzi (2021) examine the necessity for accessible information, whilst Qi and Hu (2020) emphasize incorporating individuals with disabilities in disaster planning and response operations. The difficulties confronting people with disabilities regarding information behaviour are complicated and multidimensional. To address these difficulties, academics, politicians, and technology developers must work together to guarantee that everyone has fair access to information and the tools required.
There is a wealth of literature on people with disabilities, their information-seeking activities, and their interactions with technology and media. However, significant gaps and unsolved issues in the literature need additional investigation. Individuals with impairments’ digital health information-seeking activities are one area that requires further investigation. While some studies have looked at patients’ and families’ information requirements and seeking behaviours in acute care settings, no research focuses primarily on people with disabilities. More study is required to understand better how people access and utilize health information, particularly in light of the COVID-19 epidemic and the move to telehealth.
Another area that needs further research is the influence of parents in encouraging physical exercise among kids with disabilities. While research on parents’ opinions on physical activity exists, most concentrate on the difficulties they experience rather than the tactics, they take to encourage their children’s physical activity. Further study should look at how parents can effectively promote physical exercise among children with impairments and how technology can help assist these efforts.
More study on creating accessible interactive technologies to facilitate education for children with impairments is also required. While some studies have looked at the design of assistive technology, more study is needed to provide a complete framework for creating accessible interactive tools that may help children with disabilities with their education and development. Finally, research on the interaction of disability and information poverty is lacking, especially in the context of digital information. While some studies have looked at the information-seeking activities of parents of disabled children, more study is required to understand how people with disabilities experience information poverty and how this impacts their access to digital information.
In conclusion, although there is a substantial amount of research on people with disabilities, various gaps and unaddressed topics still need additional investigation. Future research could concentrate on individuals with disabilities digital health information-seeking behaviours, practical strategies for promoting physical activity among youth with disabilities, the development of accessible interactive tools to aid in teaching children with disabilities, and the intersection of disability and information poverty in the context of digital information.
Unanswered research questions include:
In the digital age, how can technology be made more accessible to those with disabilities? Individuals with impairments face hurdles while accessing technology, according to Baumgartner et al. (2021), such as inaccessible websites, apps, and gadgets. More study is required to investigate ways to design and deploy more accessible technologies to promote the digital inclusion of people with impairments. What obstacles do parents of disabled children experience while encouraging physical exercise for their children? Columna et al. (2020) undertook a comprehensive study of the attitudes of parents of disabled children toward physical activity.
More study is required, however, to uncover particular challenges that parents encounter, such as a lack of awareness about adequate physical exercise, a lack of resources, and social stigma. How can health and disability information be successfully conveyed to parents of disabled children? According to Gibson and Martin III (2019), parents of disabled children may face information marginalization and difficulty accessing crucial information. More study is required to develop effective communication techniques to guarantee that parents can access trustworthy and accurate information that may help their disabled children’s health and well-being.
How can interactive tools be created to aid in the education of children with disabilities? Florez-Aristizabal et al. (2019) offer a framework for developing accessible interactive technologies to help educate disabled children. More study, however, is required to investigate how to build and deploy effective interactive technologies that can assist the learning requirements of children with various impairments. What are the information requirements and seeking behaviours of patients and families with disabilities in acute care settings? Kynoch et al. (2019) performed a scoping assessment of patients’ and families’ information requirements and seeking behaviours in acute care settings.
More study, however, is required to determine the unique information requirements and seeking behaviours of disabled patients and families to guarantee that they get appropriate and effective treatment. The literature emphasizes the need for more study in these areas to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families. Baumgartner et al. (2021) stress the necessity of removing obstacles to technology access for people with impairments to foster digital inclusion. Columna et al. (2020) contend that encouraging physical exercise for people with disabilities is critical to enhancing their health and well-being.
Gibson and Martin III (2019) emphasize the importance of good communication tactics in ensuring that parents of disabled children have access to trustworthy and accurate information. Florez-Aristizabal et al. (2019) propose that interactive technologies may help children with impairments learn. According to Kynoch et al. (2019), meeting the unique information demands and seeking behaviours of patients and families with impairments in acute healthcare settings is critical. Addressing these unresolved scientific problems can enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families.
Design of a Research Study
How do individuals with disabilities perceive and experience media use in the digital era? What are their information needs and seeking behaviours?
The proposed research study would use a qualitative approach to explore the experiences of individuals with disabilities regarding their media use and information needs. The study would be guided by the information-motivation-behavioural skills (IMB) model, which proposes that information, motivation, and behavioural skills are essential determinants of health behaviour.
Data will be collected through semi-structured interviews with individuals with disabilities. The interviews would be in-person or online, depending on the participants’ preferences and accessibility needs. The interviews would be audio-recorded and transcribed for analysis.
How do you use different media platforms (e.g., social media, websites, mobile apps) to access information? What are the barriers you face when seeking information on digital platforms? What motivates you to seek information on digital media? How confident are you in your ability to find and evaluate information online?
The data gathered will be analyzed using thematic analysis. The transcripts would be reviewed to identify essential media use and information needs themes. The themes would be compared across participants to identify similarities and differences in experiences.
The analysis results could improve our understanding of how individuals with disabilities perceive and experience media use in the digital era. The study could identify specific barriers that individuals with disabilities face when seeking information online, which could inform the development of more accessible and inclusive information services. The study could also highlight the information needs of individuals with disabilities, which could inform the design of more targeted information services and resources. Ultimately, the analysis results could contribute to developing more effective strategies to support individuals with disabilities in accessing and utilizing digital media for information seeking and other purposes.
Finally, during the COVID-19 epidemic, the chosen articles address many topics linked to persons with disabilities, such as their media usage, information-seeking behaviour, access to technology and healthcare, physical activity, and activism. The articles give vital insights into this population’s experiences and viewpoints and shed light on the barriers they confront in obtaining information, resources, and services. These results show that additional study and action are needed to enhance inclusion, accessibility, and equality for people with disabilities. The existing studies’ limitations were also addressed, and prospective future study areas were explored. Overall, the articles stress the necessity of recognizing and responding to the needs and experiences of people with disabilities to promote their well-being and full engagement in society.
Thematic Analysis Matrix
|Baumgartner et al.||2021||People with disabilities||How do people with disabilities use media in the digital era?||Qualitative content analysis||People with disabilities rely heavily on media for everyday activities but encounter barriers to accessing digital media. They also have specific information needs related to their disability.||Theme 1: Information needs of the user population|
|Columna et al.||2020||Parents of youth with disabilities||What are the perspectives of parents of youth with disabilities toward physical activity?||Systematic review||Parents of youth with disabilities have positive attitudes toward physical activity but face barriers related to their child’s disability and lack of knowledge about accessible physical activity options.||Theme 1: Information needs of the user population<br>Theme 2: Information-seeking behaviours <br>Theme 4: Barriers and challenges to accessing information|
|Jaks et al.||2019||Parents of children with health conditions or disabilities||What are the digital health information-seeking behaviours of parents of children with health conditions or disabilities in Switzerland?||Cross-sectional survey||Parents seek health information online but need help with the quality and reliability of the information and their health literacy.||Theme 2: Information-seeking behaviours <br>Theme 4: Barriers and challenges to accessing information<br>Theme 5: Information literacy and skills|
|Flórez-Aristizábal et al.||2019||Children with disabilities and their teachers||How can interactive tools be designed to support teaching children with disabilities?||Framework development and evaluation||Designability is a framework that supports the design of accessible interactive tools for teaching children with disabilities.||Theme 1: Information needs of the user population<br>Theme 5: Information literacy and skills<br>Theme 6: Technology use|
|Gibson & Martin III||2019||Parents of individuals with disabilities||How do parents of individuals with disabilities experience information poverty and marginalization?||Qualitative interviews and focus groups||Parents of individuals with disabilities experience information marginalization due to a lack of access to information, social isolation, and recognition of their information needs.||Theme 1: Information needs of the user population<br>Theme 2: Information-seeking behaviors<br>Theme 4: Barriers and challenges to accessing information<br>Theme 7: Health information behavior|
|Kynoch et al.||2019||Patients and families in acute healthcare settings||What are patients’ and families’ information needs and seeking behaviours in acute healthcare settings?||Scoping review||Patients and families have diverse information needs related to their health condition, treatment, and care, and they seek information through various sources. However, they face barriers related to the quality and accessibility of information.||Theme 1: IPeople With Disabilitiesnformation needs of the user population<br>|
Baumgartner, A., Rohrbach, T., & Schönhagen, P. (2021). ‘If the phone were broken, I’d be screwed’: media use of people with disabilities in the digital era. Disability & Society, 1-25.
Columna, L., Prieto, L., Elias-Revolledo, G., & Haegele, J. A. (2020). The perspectives of parents of youth with disabilities toward physical activity: A systematic review. Disability and health journal, 13(2), 100851.
Jaks, R., Baumann, I., Juvalta, S., & Dratva, J. (2019). Parental digital health information seeking behaviour in Switzerland: a cross-sectional study. BMC public health, 19(1), 1-11.
Flórez-Aristizábal, L., Cano, S., Collazos, C. A., Solano, A. F., & Brewster, S. (2019, May). Designability: Framework for the design of accessible interactive tools to support teaching to children with disabilities. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-16).
Gibson, A. N., & Martin III, J. D. (2019). Re‐situating information poverty: Information marginalization and parents of individuals with disabilities. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 70(5), 476-487.
Kynoch, K., Ramis, M. A., Crowe, L., Cabilan, C. J., & McArdle, A. (2019). Information needs and information seeking behaviours of patients and families in acute healthcare settings: a scoping review. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 17(6), 1130-1153.
Mhiripiri, N. A., & Midzi, R. (2021). Fighting for survival: persons with disabilities’ activism for the mediatization of COVID-19 information. Media International Australia, 178(1), 151-167.
Qi, F., & Hu, L. (2020). Including people with disability in the COVID-19 outbreak emergency preparedness and response in China. Disability & Society, 35(5), 848-853.
Wu, Y. J., Liu, W. J., & Yuan, C. H. (2020). A mobile-based barrier-free service transportation platform for people with disabilities. Computers in Human Behavior, 107, 105776.
Zakar, R., Iqbal, S., Zakar, M. Z., & Fischer, F. (2021). COVID-19 and health information seeking behaviour: digital health literacy survey amongst university students in Pakistan. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(8), 4009.