I had an interesting experience during a training session on Good Clinical Documentation at Milwaukee County On our handout were examples of notes that might have been written regarding case managers encountering mental health consumers. The notes included plenty of low hanging fruit with egregious examples of opinions stated as if they were facts. The case manager was supposed to be doing a lot of med monitoring in these examples. But of course the consumer was an alcoholic. The case manager’s dislike for this woman, Mary, showed through from the very beginning and grew worse.
Aside from checking on her medication, the case manager, Jane, was supposed to be helping her to find housing. Here, Jane proved to be the case manager from hell. There was one message about housing applications without any hint of follow through. As if Jane could not be bothered. The worst note from Jane was when she wrote that Mary had shown up to meet with her in a restaurant without her pill-box so she could check it. As soon as I read that, I spoke up, declaring that such a move would have violated Jane’s right to privacy. People who receive case management services do not deserve stigma. I would no more dream of checking anyone’s medication in public than I would go to the bar for a few drinks with a consumer.
People who taking psychotropic drugs need their privacy and deserve to be assisted in the least restrictive environments possible. In the final note regarding Mary, it was discovered that Jane died in her apartment and had not been observed by Mary for weeks. She did not do a wellness check and she did nothing to help her. Obviously, no case manager worth her paycheck would treat anyone like that, would they?
I just read an eye-opening story about the seedy world of debt collection in the New York Times. It was enlightening to learn about the shady practices of this industry of bottom feeders who are making big profits on the backs of poor people. Those who became over-extended, lost jobs, grew old became ill or otherwise lost their ability to pay their bills.
A lot of the story focused on some scumbags in Buffalo, a deeply depressed city with people trying to rebuild their lives. It was shocking to read that debts many years old and which would no longer appear on one’s credit report were being sold and re-sold for pennies on the dollar. There were all kinds of illegal and unethical practices discussed and I recommend that people read the article and follow through with complaints to your state attorney general, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the financial regulators in your state. Ask questions when someone contacts you about money that you supposedly owe and force them to prove that they are the legal owners. Ask yourself how old the debt may be and don’t automatically promise to pay anything. You may have already paid and there’s no need to enrich these crooks.
There have always been dark and lovely people since, after all, our earliest ancestors were Africans. But people of white skin have long-held the dominant positions in the world. Until very recently Africans throughout the diaspora lacked political and economic power. Thus it was not surprising that those who were the darkest were often ridiculed. Throughout the world we have devised products and surgeries that will make us look white. Or at least change our features so that they are less identifiably African.
At the same time there are movements that celebrate our dark skin, our often coarse hair and thick lips. Langston Hughes wrote I am the darker brother. I am that brother, because I am also a very dark brown. Those who appreciate me celebrate my features and I celebrate theirs. That is why I was excited to find black atheists and other non-believers on Facebook. Most recently I found a sister who proclaimed she was president of Team Dark Skin. This woman would have been one of my favorite cousins. It is not that she is only with dark and lovely people like her. In fact, she is with all types of people on her Facebook page and having a good time.
I decided to look up the hashtag Team Dark Skin and found all kinds of posts on twitter and pin interest. I believe this is a way of proclaiming the positives within us, similar to when James Brown proclaimed, “say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud.”And someday we will have the power that was stolen away from us by bullets, bibles and self-hatred.