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.
A recent story in the Columbus Dispatch, Help available for gambling addicts, provided information to the risk of developing a gambling problem, as well as the resources available to address it. While I fully commend the Dispatch for running the story, the part that I take issue with is the term 'addict' in the title. We know that the word 'addict' is one that is highly stigma-inducing and many times is used to represent the individual and not the disease of addiction.
While it is unfortunate that the antiquated language was used, it as an opportunity to make a connection and have the conversation with not only those at the paper, but a reminder to emphasize the importance of stigma-free language within media outlets, including social media.
One of the greatest challenges related to problem gambling is low community awareness. Take a moment to have the conversation and let those you connect with understand that gambling doesn't just affect individuals, but also their families and the larger community.
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.