Bridging the GAP on Gambling (ep.2) – John of SPGH


So it is an absolutely beautiful day, we’re out here
just outside of mobile crisis. For the Problem Gambling Helpline.
We’re going to go in and chat to a few people who
work here. So come on it!
And we are talking with…
John McCracken and the executive
director of Mobile Crisis Services and
Mobile Crisis Services answers the
Problem Gambling Helpline.
So,
The Problem Gambling Helpline, what… I mean,
it’s a helpline obviously, but
what do you what do you guys kind of focus on?
Like what what’s your role here?
Well, kind of in the early 90’s when
gambling came into the province,
the Ministry of Health and Sask. Gaming
felt there was a need for services to be offered
because there is a portion of
the population that has…. can have an
issue with any addiction. Whether it’s a
drug addiction whether it’s a gambling addiction,
or whether it’s an alcohol addiction.
So, some services were set up
and The Problem Gambling Helpline was
one of those services. And its 1-800
telephone line that’s available 24 hours a day.
And the staff have been trained to
kind of screen and assess individuals
who are calling in who…. helping them
determine whether or not they have a
gambling problem. The Problem Gambling
may be the primary problem but there
could be a secondary or third problem
also that needs to be addressed.
As well as the gambling addiction.
Our staff are trained to
provide services, a crisis response in
relationship to a lot of different
program areas. We deal with child welfare issues,
and youth, and domestic violence.
We… in mental health, other addictions, and
financial concerns as well.
So like on average…
how many men we call you guys kind of get?
Like, what’s uh, what kind of
last year to this year look like in
terms of call volume that you guys kinda get?
In not last fiscal year, but the year
before we had approximately 549 calls
from gamblers themselves or family
members or friends who are impacted by
gambling. And in the last fiscal year we
had 1385 calls. So, there’s been a hundred
and fifty two percent increase in the
number of calls.
Why has there been such a large change in
the amount of calls coming in?
I think
one of the reasons is, it’s because there
was some changes made in January 2016
and the Ministry of Health felt that we
needed to do a better job in the
province as far as trying to engage,
whether it’s a family member, or whether
it’s a gambler themselves, in getting
them to understand their addiction but
also to know how to access the services.
There was a website that was
developed, and the website provides
multiple ways of accessing, whether it’s
online chat that’s available kind of
7:00 at night 12:00 midnight,
seven days a week every day of the year.
Texting the same. And there’s also, email support,
that’s provided where…
Gamblers are very secretive and
and we don’t have call display when
they’re calling in and they can also use
email which is maybe, they would view
as being maybe a little less intrusive
and it’s for a kind of non urgent
requests for service where there’s a
response that’s provided back to them
within 12 to 48 hours. The other thing
we’ve been doing is trying to connect
more with community agencies in the
province by producing a newsletter about
gambling addiction that goes up over a
couple of months. We’ve also kind-of
partnered more, and there’s more
communication between our our crisis
gambling counselors that, that respond to
the chat line and respond to the texting
that they also are there to support
gamblers… that are refered to us
through the gambling counselors of the province.
Okay, so you guys mostly just see
like gamblers calling in or
families, is it friends? Like what’s kind of the call distribution?
Well, about 15 percent
of the calls coming in are from families
or family or friends that are being
impacted by the gamblers addiction and
the majority of the calls are from the
gamblers themselves.
So gamblers actually calling in?
Yes.
Well thank you very much John, I really
appreciate you taking the time out of
your day and speaking with us.
For anyone that’s interested in learning
more about The Problem Gambling Helpline,
we’re going to have links in the
description for the websites, we’ll have
the helpline number posted in the
description as well.
And,
we’re gonna have a couple more videos
with… who else are we interviewing here?
Well you’re going to talk with my assistant director
who is kind of in charge of programming
at the agency and you’re going to talk
with one of the crisis gambling counselors.
Perfect, so, we’ve got those
coming up a little later for responsible
gambling week here, but thank you very
much for tuning in and we’ll see you
guys tomorrow!
Bye 🙂

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