This week, the National Conference on Problem Gambling holds its 33rd National Conference on Gambling Addiction and Responsible Gambling. This is the largest and oldest conference of its kind bringing together leaders in prevention, education, treatment, responsible gaming, research, and recovery.
Problem gambling helplines do wonderful work to strengthen families and improve health and wellness by reducing the economic, social, and personal costs caused by problem gambling. With the growing popularity and reduced legal barriers to sports betting, focus on awareness, education, and prevention are more important than ever.
NCPG has also focused its efforts on supporting members of the military after their research found that 56,000 servicemembers meet the criteria for a gambling disorder and that military personnel and their families are exposed to more than 3,000 slot machines on military bases located Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS) where over $100 million is gambled away every year. Research showed that military personnel are up to 2-3 times more likely to experience problem gambling. Yet, due to the stigmas associated with the disorder, less than ten percent of those with gambling problems seek help. The lack of protections against gambling addiction extend beyond active duty members: a 2019 study of veterans with gambling disorder discovered that they are twice as likely to attempt suicide as compared to veterans who do not have a gambling addiction, and 40% of veterans seeking problem gambling treatment report suicide attempts.
NCPG leadership influenced the introduction of a bipartisan, bicameral bill, the Gambling Addiction Prevention (GAP) Act of 2019. The proposed law would require the US Department of Defense to develop policies and programs to prevent and treat gambling problems, in coordination with the Department’s other behavioral health efforts. On military sites where gambling activities take place, such policies and programs would include providing educational materials and promoting responsible gambling behavior. It also requires the Department to update its regulations, instructions, and guidance to explicitly include gambling disorder within 180 days of the passage of the Act.
iCarol is the chosen provider for a national chat and text collaboration platform for the National Council on Problem Gambling. Several centers and organizations from around the U.S. participate to provide help in states where they provide services. Help seekers from around the U.S. can contact the NCPG National Helpline through phone, SMS/text, or live chat, and are routed to centers serving their local community whenever possible possible. If there is not a designated center available, a trained back-up center helps the person in need. Contact us if you are interested in a model like this at your organization or network.
Today the Veterans Administration is sponsoring a national summit on veteran suicide prevention in Washington, D.C.
From Under Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin’s announcement of the summit:
The “Preventing Veteran Suicide – A Call to Action” summit will bring together VA and DoD leaders, mental health professionals, Veteran Service Organizations, Veterans and their families, and other key partners. These national leaders will direct their attention to how we can best help Veterans and their families access appropriate mental health services.
It will be an honor to welcome Susan and Richard Selke, as guests at the summit. Their son, Clay Hunt, was a Marine Corps Veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who took his own life in 2011. Congress subsequently passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which President Obama signed in February of last year. Their commitment to improving mental health care for Veterans like their son has been inspiring.
If you’re interested in following the discussion coming out of the summit, search #PreventVetSuicide and follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.
On Thursday April 16, 2015 at 2:00pm EST, the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) will present a Webinar on Information and Referral (I&R) for members of our military.
Courtesty of AIRS, here is the description of the webinar content:
“Gain insights from the United Way of Greater Houston on how to build a strong I&R program geared to serving your local military community. One major component of their current work is the use of “Community Conversations” with veterans, service providers and community stakeholders to develop a path for moving forward. Join Curtis McMinn and Cornelius Blackshear of the United Way of Greater Houston, Texas to learn from their experience in developing a sustaining a veterans initiative.”
Note: This free webinar is only available via the Internet. There is not a phone connection. If you can hear a video playing on Youtube, you should be able to access this webinar. This one hour session is appropriate as professional development towards AIRS Re-Certification.
Click here to Register for the webinar
This webinar aims to provide useful information for your helpline in regards to serving members of our military with appropriate I&R services. There are tons of great webinars, training opportunities, and other professional development opportunities presented by AIRS that are only available to members. Want to become a member of AIRS and take advantage of all the great perks of membership? Find out how.
The HBO Documentary “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” first aired on HBO over a year ago, and at the Academy Award Nominations on Thursday morning, they announced that the film was among the nominees for Best Short Subject Documentary! Congrats to the filmmakers for being nominated for Hollywood’s most prestigious award.
In case you haven’t seen it yet, the film is definitely worth checking out. It’s an intimate look at suicide prevention hotline work. The documentary highlights the work of the call center in Canadaigua, NY that answers the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s phone line operated specifically for veterans at risk of suicide. The documentary features harrowing footage of crisis responders working to find anonymous callers in imminent danger, and the quiet and touching moments between the empathetic workers who listen without judgment and the veterans reaching out for help. It’s available for purchase and rent, or HBO subscribers can watch via HBO GO.
This is a truly well-made film that shines a light on the hard work of suicide prevention lines, and the struggles faced by members of the military. I know I’ll be cheering it on when I’m watching the Oscars this February.