The Many Ways Problem Gambling Awareness Month Is Important to Public Health
OLYMPIA, WA, March 04, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). The Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling (ECPG), Washington State Affiliate of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), together with the State Problem Gambling Program at the Washington State Health Care Authority at the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery), is raising awareness of how problem gambling (gambling disorder) impacts individuals, families, and communities with a statewide media campaign.
On a national level, ECPG will be collaborating with NCPG and its state Affiliates to coordinate awareness campaigns throughout the month for coast-to-coast coverage.
Why Problem Gambling Awareness is Important to Public Health
Problem gambling is often labeled the hidden addiction because the brain is affected similarly to drug and alcohol addiction without the same outward symptoms, which may cause the disorder to go undetected for prolonged periods of time. This can manifest feelings of loneliness and isolation in those impacted, which may contribute to negative repercussions in the life of the individual, their families, and even employers, affecting finances, mental health, co-occurring disorders, family health, and leading to thoughts of suicide. One study found that among those with gambling disorder (prev. pathological gambling) who had previously sought treatment for substance use disorders, 41% had attempted suicide. For those who had previously sought professional treatment for their gambling, 27.6% had attempted suicide. (Petry & Kiluk, 2002)
2 out of 3 Americans Do Not Know Where to Seek Help
The National Council on Problem Gambling reports that two-thirds of Americans, nearly 220 million people, do not know where to get help for a gambling problem. According to the National Survey on Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences (NGAGE 2.0). ECPG’s Problem Gambling Awareness Month campaign will aim to reduce those numbers through increased public awareness of Problem Gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment, and recovery services, as well as to encourage healthcare providers to screen their clients for problem gambling and to make referrals for help services.
The Rise of Sports Gambling
Super Bowl 2022 saw record numbers of bets in part because of Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming having legalized sports betting in the past year and the estimated $448 million spent on sports betting advertising between November and December 2021 according to Casino.org.
“While gambling can be fun entertainment, for most people, we know that the need for support services, treatment, prevention, and recovery programs are crucial,” said Maureen Greeley, Executive Director of the Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling. “The need to raise awareness is more important than ever with the explosive growth of legalized sports wagering in Washington State and nationally. Opportunities to gamble more frequently on activities that are part of the most popular pastime in our society – sports – raises the profile of gambling and the extensive increase in advertising of sports betting before individuals of all ages. Partnering with Tribal Gaming, Sports programs, and Sports Betting organizations on Responsible Gambling and Prevention efforts is a key part of our efforts to help Washingtonians make healthy choices around gambling activities.”
Washington State’s 24-hour Problem Gambling Helpline
ECPG has provided the Washington State Problem Gambling helpline for more than 25 years and helps between 5,000-10,000 callers per year. The helpline is confidential, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and connects people to free or low-cost treatment services closest to them. Resources and information are provided for anyone impacted by problem gambling or Gambling Disorder, including individuals, family members, and loved ones.
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About Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling
Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling (ECPG) is committed to providing services and programs for individuals, their families, employers, students, treatment professionals, and the greater community through problem gambling treatment support, information and education, advocacy, research, and prevention efforts.
For more information visit: https://evergeencpg.org
About the Washington State Health Care Authority Problem Gambling Program
The State Problem Gambling Program provides funding for treatment for eligible individuals and their family members who are affected by problem gambling or Gambling Disorder (DSM-5).
For more information visit: https://www.hca.wa.gov/health-care-services-supports/behavioral-health-recovery/problem-gambling
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