Problem gambling prevention is new to us at Helping Services for Youth & Families because of a new partnership with Northeast Iowa Behavioral Health. We are currently gathering information about our corner of the state to best provide services to all of our local communities. The National Council on Problem Gambling, dedicates March to helping people “have the conversation” about problem gambling. Approximately 2 million of U.S. adults are estimated to meet criteria for pathological gambling, another 4-6 million would be considered problem gamblers; yet for many, gambling remains a hidden addiction.
Problem Gambling Awareness Month is designed to help raise awareness of the prevention, treatment and recovery services available for those adversely affected by gambling. The grassroots campaign brings together a wide range of stakeholders – public health organizations, advocacy groups and gambling operators – who work collaboratively to let people know that hope and help exist. Across Iowa, groups hold conferences, host screening and training days, run media campaigns, and conduct outreach to people who can make a difference in ensuring that problem gambling services are widely available and accessible.
As March Madness reaches a crescendo with an estimated $10 billion in bets placed on the NCAA basketball championship games, calls to Gambling Helplines, spike an average of 30% during the month.
To get help for a gambling problem for you or a loved one, call (855) 581-8111 or text (855) 895-8398. These numbers are free of charge and confidential. You can also contact your local problem gambling treatment provider, Northeast Iowa Behavioral Health, by calling (563) 382-3649. For more information about problem gambling and how to have the conversation, go to www.yourlifeiowa.org/gambling.