March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. There is an inextricable link between gambling addiction and mental illness. A study last year from Lund University in Sweden concluded that problem gamblers have an astonishing fifteen times higher risk of suicide than the general population.
One other area of commonality is in regard to stigma. For too many years, people have not openly talked about the impact of gambling addiction to individuals and their loved ones. Through our colleagues at the New York Council on Problem Gambling, people are beginning to break down the walls of stigma and are openly talking about both the financial impact and behavioral health impact of gambling addiction.
Listed below is the press release and the list of provider agencies that are supporting Gambling Disorder Screening Day on March 10th.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jaime Costello, NYCPG, 518.852.7107
Karen Dunn, EAP, 800-822-0244
Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2020
Collaboration, Care and Concern for Problem Gambling
This March the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) is excited to partner with statewide agencies, regional and local groups and organizations throughout New York State to make strides in raising awareness of problem gambling in the state. At the state and regional levels, NYCPG is partnering with the National Alliance of Mental Illness-NYS (NAMI-NYS) as well as the Mental Health Association of NYS, Inc. (MHANYS, Inc.) to shed light on the fact that gambling disorder is in fact a mental illness and, like most other mental illnesses, it is preventable and treatable with appropriate care.
Nearly 668,000 adults in New York State are struggling with a gambling problem. (2006 OASAS Adult Problem Gambling Household Survey).
Two-thirds of gamblers surveyed reported that their mental health suffered as a result of their gambling (Nash et al, 2018).
The majority of those experiencing disordered gambling have a lifetime history of a psychiatric disorder including personality disorders, mood disorders and anxiety disorders.
Over 17% of these individuals experiencing problem or disordered gambling have attempted suicide (Moghaddam et al, 2015).
Problem gambling does not just affect the individual who is gambling, but also his or her loved ones. In one study over 90% of those affected by someone else’s gambling behavior reported emotional distress (Nash et al, 2018).
NAMI-NYS will be publishing articles and e-news information about problem gambling to its many constituents and will be working with NYCPG staff to host a webinar titled “What everyone needs to know about mental illness and gambling disorder.” At the regional level, NYCPG Problem Gambling Resource Centers (PGRCs) will be working with local affiliates to bring awareness presentations to family support groups and to develop a referral relationship to help support those in need.
“NAMI-NYS recognizes that problem gambling is a serious mental health condition that affects many and requires the same type of support as others affected by mental health issues. Peer support in the form of NAMI programs provides an opportunity to assist individuals struggling with problem gambling and their family members. NAMI support groups and classes are free to the community and can be especially beneficial for family members who are looking to understand and support their loved ones while still caring for themselves. We are thrilled to be able to partner with the New York Council on Problem Gambling to bring awareness to and provide support for this serious issue.”
Wendy Burch, NAMI-NYS Executive Director
MHANYS, Inc. will be working with NYCPG staff to develop a series of articles and two brief webinars about the basics of problem gambling and what schools and families can do to prevent problem gambling in their own communities. Stay tuned for more information!
“Problem gambling is inextricably linked to mental illness whether through the high percentage of people who suffer from depression and anxiety that are problem gamblers or sadly the high number of individuals with gambling addiction that complete suicide. Through MHANYS’ work with young people in our School Mental Health Resource and Training Center, we witness the link between mental illness and gambling addiction on a daily basis.
For too many years, there has been so much stigma related to gambling addiction that people rarely talked about it and yet, the toll it takes on individuals and their loved ones is enormously consequential. We strongly support our colleagues at the New York Council on Problem Gambling for understanding the importance of ending the stigma of gambling addiction and the importance of the mental health component of gambling addiction. We look forward to this collaboration in helping to provide support to schools and families in communities throughout New York State.”
Glenn Liebman, CEO, MHANYS
SCREENING DAY: Gambling Disorder Screening Day is March 10th!
The local agencies and partners listed below will be actively screening all clients, and others interested, on March 10th and some throughout the month.
*The above partners marked with an * have committed to screen all clients throughout the entire month of March.
The New York Council on Problem Gambling and its 2020 partners recognize that problem gambling is not a standalone condition. Partnering with stakeholders across the state enables all agencies involved to reach audiences with new information about problem gambling, mental illness and the associated stigma, and to help those in need. We call on you to be part of the conversation!
NYCPG Executive Director Jim Maney stated, “through collaboration, care, and concern we can not only rise to meet the needs of New Yorkers who are struggling with this issue, but we can uncover the shame and guilt that so many face and get them on the road to recovering.”
For more information about Problem Gambling Awareness Month and tools to use in your community visit: https://nyproblemgambling.org/resources/pgam/.
If you or someone you love is struggling, please visit
NYProblemGamblingHelp.org to connect with resources in your community.
The New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) is a not-for-profit independent corporation dedicated to increasing public awareness about problem and compulsive gambling and advocating for support services and treatment for persons adversely affected by problem gambling. NYCPG maintains a neutral stance on gambling and is governed by a Board of Directors. Find out more at NYProblemGambling.org.
NAMI-NYS is the state organization of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. The mission of NAMI-NYS is to provide advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. Find out more at NAMINYS.org.
MHANYS, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that works to end the stigma against mental illness and promote mental health wellness in New York State. MHANYS, Inc. achieves this through training, education, advocacy and policy, community-based partnership programming, and by connecting individuals and families to help. Find out more at MHANYS.org.