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.
In addition to serving as the Executive Director of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio, I also work part-time at Macy's, a job that I've had and (mostly) loved for 16 years. I was speaking to the store manager about PGNO and the efforts in Ohio related to the Be the 95% campaign. She acknowledged that she understood the reason for the efforts, but she said that she hadn't noticed any messaging to address it. Fast forward about two weeks and she came up to me and said, "since we had our conversation, I've seen all kinds of commercials and billboards. I must have tuned them out before".
So often, we are only aware of what we need to be. How often do you go on Facebook and never notice the ads that are trying so hard to get your attention? By having the conversation, I was able to raise her awareness about the important work being done in Ohio.
One of the biggest challenges we face related to problem gambling involves a lack of 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.