March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, which reminds problem gambling professionals to Have the Conversation with those they encounter. Having the conversation doesn't have to be greatly detailed or elaborate. It involves mentioning something that you hear or see.
Opportunities to present themselves about gambling are available every day. Each time I get my hair cut, the stylist invariably asks, "what do you do?" The question is an easy one, but the answer is far from it. I could go with the simplest of responses, "I work at a non-profit", or I could answer more fully - "I work in the problem gambling field." The latter response allows for a richness of conversations that can greatly surpass other answers. It allows for folks to be engaged in a low-risk, non-threatening environment. Additionally, the majority of the time, the stylist knows of someone who has been negatively impacted, and they usually have no idea that resources, let alone free ones, are available to assist.
One of the greatest challenges related to problem gambling is low community awareness. Celebrate Problem Gambling Awareness Month - Have the Conversation!
Derek Longmeier, Executive Director
The Problem Gambling Network of Ohio
For additional resources, visit www.PGNOhio.org.