By Marissa Thompson, CCPRD Project Associate
In July of 2020, Kenneth Young Center began working on a responsible gambling grant with the purpose of raising awareness of problem gambling and providing resources for those seeking support services. We tend to think of addictive behaviors as being associated with substances. However, gambling, similar to drugs or alcohol, stimulates the pleasure-seeking and reward system parts of the brain that can lead to addiction. Gambling can take place in many forms including slot machines, scratch-off tickets, table games, and recently, online gaming. Problem Gambling is a relatively new diagnosable disorder, with grant-funded research and gambling-focused therapies only being offered within the past few decades.
To raise awareness of problem gambling and resources for help, the Communities for Positive Youth Development (CPYD) Coalition will be participating in Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM), starting March 1st. Our goals for PGAM are to increase public awareness of problem gambling, train the general public and health care professionals about the warning signs of problem gambling, raise awareness of problem gambling services available locally and nationally, promote resources for those struggling with a problematic gaming disorder.
The 2021 PGAM theme is “Awareness + Action'', meaning that it isn’t enough to talk about problem gambling but also striving to inspire discussion and change the way the public thinks about addictive behaviors and problem gambling disorder. The gambling grant team at CPYD aims to stay true to this theme by raising awareness through educational social media posts about problematic gambling, as well as providing resources for problematic gambling through billboards placed along routes to casinos and businesses where people can buy lottery tickets. We also hope to inspire action and awareness through community outreach events and youth-focused discussions with CPYD’s Youth Advocates for Change groups.
Although we have only recently begun to understand and treat problematic gambling disorders, PGAM aims to destigmatize those who may be struggling, provide accessible resources and raise awareness of the possible consequences of gambling.
If you are interested in learning more, please visit weknowthefeeling.org.
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