Homelessness and Health Care

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Amazon.com

Although the tipping point is often the loss of a job, sickness or injury often precede it. Sickness and injuries make holding a job difficult, which leads to income declining and homelessness for those without a safety net. Due to the mostly employer-based health insurance coverage system in the U.S., no job means no health insurance. The combination of unemployment and poor health can then lead to financial ruin. Nerdwallet estimated that 57.1 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies are due to medical bills, making it the leading cause of the financial calamity that often precedes homelessness.

We can learn from how one doctor addressed hunger, another so-called health-related social issue or “social determinant of health.” Decades ago, Jack Geiger founded the first federally funded community-health center in the U.S. There, he began giving impoverished patients prescriptions for food using its pharmacy funds. Nervous about this practice, federal officials tried to stop him, but Geiger responded, “The last time we looked in the book, the specific therapy for malnutrition was food.”

The specific therapy for homelessness and its associated health issues is housing.

How Health and Homelessness are Connected—Medically: This doctor examines the web of medical conditions that lead to and compound homelessness, and vice versa, The Atlantic, 01/25/2016, written by Seiji Hayashi

Admiration List: Jennifer Brea

Jennifer Brea has been suffering from an un-treatable and not-yet-properly-identified neurological disease. She has been given diagnosis (e.g.: chronic fatigue syndrome) that basically mean nothing and was told it was ‘all in her head.’ This woman has been through the proverbial fire.

Yet, despite extremely difficult physical and social barriers, she has persevered, created a film about her experiences and pursued a life of activism, acting as a voice for all people suffering from invisible and un-diagnosed illnesses.

From her TED talk, you can see her strength, attitude and remarkable good will, as she expresses her hope that one day the medical community will learn how to face a disease like her own and speak the honest truth: I don’t know what is wrong with you.

I have to agree with her statement that this ability to be able to admit to not having an answer is a key step in eventually finding an answer.

Health vs Pride

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Amazon.com

“How are you feeling?” Xie asked.

“Ridiculous,” Long replied.

“I am asking about your health since you arrived five days ago,” Xie said. “Not your pride at this moment.”

The Five Ancestors Book 7: Dragon by Jeff Stone

People Don’t Die of AIDs or Poverty

During a discussion on Quora a comment was made in response to my answer to the question Does feminism exist on the street? Does it exist for women who are homeless or living in poverty? That response was: “Poverty doesn’t kill people.”

The comment has been deleted. At the time it was posted I chose to simply allow it to stand without response.

However, it stuck in my head for several days, rattling around and making connection with another statement I have heard many times over the years: “AIDs doesn’t kill,  complications from contracting the AIDs virus kills.”

Take a Stand Against AIDS HIV T Shirts

giftsforawareness on Zazzle.com

AIDs vs Opportunistic Infections

From a scientific or medical perspective HIV (the AIDs virus), in and of itself, does not kill. AIDs attacks the immune system, which makes the patient vulnerable to other diseases (opportunistic infections) and those diseases are what ultimately kill the patient. For additional scientific data see:

homeless is no place for a child tee shirt

frednphil on zazzle

Poverty vs Social Determinants

It is also true that poverty, in and of itself, does not kill. Humans do not need cash to live, they need the things cash can buy. In that respect, poverty is just like the AIDs virus – potentially lethal problems are introduced as a direct result of being poor (Social Determinants or Social Factors) but the cause of death is never identified as ‘poverty.’ For example:

  • A homeless person without winter shelter dies of exposure or hypothermia.
  • A lifetime of poor nutrition or malnutrition, causes medical problems that can become lethal.
  • A child who does not survive the first two years of life has succumbed to infant mortality.
  • A teenager who is shot on the way to school is a murder victim who dies from a gunshot wound.
  • A poor person ensnared by human trafficking is a victim of criminal activity.
  • Living in close proximity to other people, under highly unsanitary conditions, causes a poor person to contract a lethal respiratory disease – the cause of death is tuberculosis.

For more information on the Social Determinants that contribute to the death of poor people, see the following (sadly incomplete) list of references and links:

Cascading Effect

‘Poverty does not kill’ is a legitimate statement but a failed argument. Neither poverty nor AIDs are directly and immediately lethal, but there is a clearly identified connection:

  • If the AIDs virus could be destroyed or removed, the immune system would return to normal and a reasonably healthy life could be resumed.
  • If poverty were eliminated, the resources necessary to establishing and leading a safe and healthy life could be achieved.

Please Respond

I welcome all comments on this topic. In particular, I would like to invite people to post articles illustrating all of the Social Determinants that result in the deaths of people trying to survive poverty.

Foraging for Health

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Amazon.com

“As we reflect on our year of foraging adventures, one thing we marvel at is nature’s capacity to heal, and while we cannot prove it (yet — more research definitely needs to be done), we are certain that the foods nature offers at any given time of the year are exactly the foods we need to achieve optimal health. That is, what grows where we live is what we need to stay healthy.”

Browsing Nature’s Aisles: A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs by Wendy Brown and Eric Brown

Anti-Inspiring

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“Take This job and Shove It”: How Targets and Witnesses Fight Back When Faced with Bullying

When abuse persisted despite working harder, participants reported giving up. Working harder resulted in a brief respite but was inevitably followed by more demands and further demoralization…Thus, abuse engendered noncooperation rather than cooperation and consent.”

Adult Bullying-A Nasty Piece of Work: Translating a Decade of Research on Non-Sexual Harassment, Psychological Terror, Mobbing, and Emotional Abuse on the Job by Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik

Note: For more information about combating workplace bullying, visit the Workplace Bullying Institute, Beyond Bullying Association, the International Association on Workplace Bullying & Harassment (IAWBH) and the International Conference on Workplace Bullying.

 

Spotting Bad Management

The following quote suggests that managers who bully subordinates also hire people with the intention of abusing them. It’s a little unnerving to think blatantly (consciously?) predatory behavior is behind some new-hire decisions.

This begs the question – how does a potential employee spot a predatory manager, or an abusive work environment, during the interview process? Are there techniques for identifying and avoiding the problem all together?

Serial Bullying: How Employee Abuse Starts, Ends, and Restarts with New Targets

The most common occurrence coinciding with the onset of abuse is getting a new boss or starting a new job: “A surprising number (19%) are bullied almost immediately on starting their new posts. The recent job change and a change in manager account for 82% of the offered events relating to bullying onset.””

Adult Bullying-A Nasty Piece of Work: Translating a Decade of Research on Non-Sexual Harassment, Psychological Terror, Mobbing, and Emotional Abuse on the Job by Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik

Note: For more information about combating workplace bullying, visit the Workplace Bullying Institute, Beyond Bullying Association, the International Association on Workplace Bullying & Harassment (IAWBH) and the International Conference on Workplace Bullying.

Serial Bullying in the Workplace

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Serial Bullying: How Employee Abuse Starts, Ends, and Restarts with New Targets

Serial bullying is a repetitive, targeted, destructive form of bullying directed by direct managers toward their employees…also called merry-go-round bullying, [it] is when a bully picks one person at a time to terrorize and moves on to another person, usually after the initial target is driven from the workgroup.”

Effectively interrupting the cycle requires more than just removing, coaching, or disciplining the abuse. Ending the cycle means encouraging rather than obstructing the expression of employees’ alternative workplace experiences, despite the likelihood that those voices will differ from management’s. Without honestly dealing with aggressors and the climate that spawns and supports aggression, organizations are doomed to repeat the cycle.

“Only when organizational members at all levels can safely and openly question the dominant culture can the cycle of serial bullying be interrupted. This is no small feat.”

Adult Bullying-A Nasty Piece of Work: Translating a Decade of Research on Non-Sexual Harassment, Psychological Terror, Mobbing, and Emotional Abuse on the Job by Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik

Note: For more information about combating workplace bullying, visit the Workplace Bullying Institute, Beyond Bullying Association, the International Association on Workplace Bullying & Harassment (IAWBH) and the International Conference on Workplace Bullying.

Bullying in the American Workplace

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Prevalence, Perception, Degree, & Impact of Adult Bullying in the American Workplace by Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik, Sarah J. Tracy, & Jess Alberts

Bullying causes widespread damage. Victims of bullying, called targets in research on the subject, suffer long-term often permanent psychological, physical, and professional harm. The experience is crippling and devastating.”

In any given 6 month period, 1 in 4 (25%) US workers experience aggression at work that is persistent and harmful, whether or not these workers identify as targets.

In any given 6 month period in the US, workplace bullying harms nearly 40% of US working adults.

Witnessing bystanders, even though they do not feel directly bullied, experience more aggression personally targeted at them than do employees working in settings without bullying present. As bullying increases, job satisfaction and overall job rating decrease and job-related stress increases—for targets and for witnessing bystanders.

Adult Bullying-A Nasty Piece of Work: Translating a Decade of Research on Non-Sexual Harassment, Psychological Terror, Mobbing, and Emotional Abuse on the Job by Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik

Note: For more information about combating workplace bullying, visit the Workplace Bullying Institute, Beyond Bullying Association, the International Association on Workplace Bullying & Harassment (IAWBH) and the International Conference on Workplace Bullying.

Unfortunate Reality

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Sadly, workplace bullying is relatively common; it touches the lives of nearly half of the working adults in the United States—by either being targeted or being forced to witness one’s coworkers and colleagues bullied. Adult bullies are far more astutely strategic than children, more likely to use indirect aggression because indirect is easy to deny, and are excellent at managing up—appearing completely innocent to upper-managers or other organizational authorities.”

Adult Bullying-A Nasty Piece of Work: Translating a Decade of Research on Non-Sexual Harassment, Psychological Terror, Mobbing, and Emotional Abuse on the Job by Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik

Note: For more information about combating workplace bullying, visit the Workplace Bullying Institute, Beyond Bullying Association, the International Association on Workplace Bullying & Harassment (IAWBH) and the International Conference on Workplace Bullying.