March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Author: Janeane Krongos, Tillamook Family Counseling Center
Each year, health professionals, social services entities, and community members participate in Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM). Throughout this nationwide public health observance participants raise awareness of problem gambling, promote problem gambling screenings, and raise awareness of problem gambling prevention, treatment, and recovery services. This year’s theme is “Awareness + Action”. For more information about PGAM visit www.ncpgambling.org.
Problem gambling is any gambling behavior that disrupts your life. Relationship strain, financial instability, co-occurring substance use, and loss of productivity are some of the negative consequences of problem gambling. Many individuals and families in Oregon are impacted by problem gambling. According to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), it is estimated that 84,000 Oregon adults and adolescents currently meet the clinical diagnosis of a gambling disorder. In addition, the OHA estimates that there are another 180,000 Oregonians (adults and adolescents) who are at risk of developing a gambling disorder.
This year, the Tillamook Family Counseling Center (TFCC) will participate in this national observance. This month, TFCC staff will: attend a Tillamook County Board of County Commissioners meeting (to submit a resolution request to proclaim March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month in Tillamook County), increase distribution of problem gambling prevention information, and present a free virtual problem gambling prevention presentation for community members. This year, I encourage community members to join TFCC in participating in this national observance.
Continue reading to get some ideas of ways that you can participate in this year’s PGAM.
• Learn about problem gambling prevention and treatment resources: The Tillamook Family Counseling Center is Tillamook County’s problem gambling prevention and treatment location. To learn more about free local problem gambling services call (503)842-8201.
• Include problem gambling prevention and treatment information in your newsletter: If you belong to an organization or are employed by a business who has a newsletter consider including information about problem gambling. In the newsletter include: definition of problem gambling, problem gambling prevention strategies, problem gambling treatment center contact information, and the Oregon Problem Gambling Resource (OPGR) problem gambling helpline.
• Examine your own gambling behaviors to see if you are at risk of developing a problem with gambling: The OPGR website has a short self-evaluation that can help a person identity if they are at risk of developing a problem gambling disorder. The free evaluation can be assessed at www.opgr.org.
• Create responsible gambling guidelines: A few guidelines to consider: only gambling for entertainment, set a time and dollar limit, don’t gamble to escape life problems, create a healthy life balance, don’t gamble using credit, and chose not to use substances while gambling.
• Have a conversation about gambling with friends and family members: Conversation tips for talking to youth and adults can be found at www.opgr.org.
• Program the OPGR helpline in your phone: The OPGR helpline is available 24/7. Helpline staff can provide support, answer questions, and help callers locate a local problem gambling treatment provider. You can learn more about what you can expect when you call the helpline by watching the video on the www.opgr.org website. The helpline number is (877)695-4648.
• Learn about common negative consequences of problem gambling: Problem gambling can cause many negative consequences to a person’s life. To get an overview of some of these consequences, I recommend checking out the OHA’s digital resource booklet titled Impacts of Problem Gambling on Public Health. This document can be found at www.oregon.gov.
• Share PGAM logos and other graphics on your social media and email signature: Sharing these graphics can help you raise your friends, family, and colleague’s awareness of this month long observance. Free downloadable PGAM logos and graphics can found on the National Council on Problem Gambling’s (NCPG) website. The website can be accessed by visiting: www.ncpgambling.org.
• Attend a problem gambling prevention presentation: TFCC and Northwest Parenting will present a free hour long problem gambling prevention information presentation. This presentation will be on March 17th from 10:00-11:00 AM on the Zoom platform. To sign up for this presentation email me at Janeanek@tfcc.org.
I hope that this column was helpful to you. If you have information about problem gambling prevention services or have a question about this column please feel free to contact me at Janeanek@tfcc.org.

March 23, 2022

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