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Gambling Disorder Screening Day: March 14

Today, March 14, is Gambling Disorder Screening Day in the US.

This is a key date in the calendar for anyone who feels that their relationship with gambling or wagering isn’t under control, or is at risk of getting out of control.

Gambling Disorder Screening Day is a one-day event held annually on the second Tuesday of March during Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Established in 2014, Screening Day has included supporters and screeners from Cambridge Health Alliance, Massachusetts and New England, the United States, and around the world.

The screening day has previously helped identify individuals in those regions who might have gambling disorder and should seek further assessment. This year’s screening days are planned by local and state supporters and screeners. Sites for screening include a broad range of locations, like health care clinics, gaming venues, lobbies of state buildings, churches and synagogues. A short three-question screen is used, and referral information is given to those who need further assessment.

EPIC’s program facilitator Liz Thielen has extensive experience in addictions counselling and is an advocate of the event, having seen the benefit it can have on individuals in need of support. She explains:

“Everybody knows about alcoholism, everybody knows about drug addiction, they don’t know about gambling addiction – and if they think they know about it, they might have a lot of misconceptions.

“You have people who are suffering in silence who think ‘I am so stupid, I’m so irresponsible, I’m so weak, why did I do this?’. They need to know you’re not alone, you’re not weak, you’re not irresponsible, you’re not stupid. There’s a reason for it and there’s help available.

“Gambling Disorder Screening Day is March 14th, and that’s so important because you do need to self-assess if you’re doing something like gambling. From time to time you need to check in, see how it’s going, and find out if are you gambling in a way that has some kind of indicator of risk. If so, you can change course a little bit. The help is out there.”

While phone numbers and resources vary by state, they are available, and a quick phone call to one of the two National Helplines, 800GAMBLER or 800-522-4700, can help answer your questions around potential gambling issues in a confidential manner and signpost you to local outlets that can offer the support you need.

You can also undertake screening online using The Division on Addiction’s BBGS e-Screener and Intervention System by clicking here.

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