The Council works to prevent problem gambling. Some of the ways that we do this include raising awareness of the disorder, and building the capacity of the existing prevention infrastructure, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and educational institutions, so that the groups are able to join the prevention effort.
The Council is working with preventionists and educators across the Commonwealth to help them to understand problem gambling, and to support their efforts to prevent problem gambling, by providing training, resources and technical assistance.
Many of the Council Prevention Department’s efforts focus on youth, college students, older adults, the corrections population, and cultural and linguistic under-served populations, including the Latino/Latina population, the Asian-American population and the African-American population.
2013 was a great year for the Council’s prevention outreach efforts. With attendance at events like the Tet Festival (Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival), Oak Street Fair, and Quincy Lunar New Year Festival, we continued outreach into the Asian community.
We expanded our relationships with older adults through workshops at conferences such as the Massachusetts Association of Older Americans (MAOA) Journey of Aging Conference, the Massachusetts Aging and Mental Health Coalition Annual Conference, and Aging with Dignity. Our work did not stop there. We presented workshops on “Making the Most of Your Leisure Time” and “Healthy Aging: You and Your Money” at Senior Centers and Councils on Aging throughout the Commonwealth.
2013 also saw the introduction of Prevention Regional Collaborative meetings. These meetings were held at schools across the Commonwealth, with a particular focus on college and youth problem gambling prevention. These meetings allowed us to meet with college and high school administrators and staff to discuss problem gambling, how it already affects their students, signs to look for, risk and protective factors, as well as what to look for in the future with the possibility of casinos opening in their areas.
We hope to continue to grow our prevention efforts in 2014, and already have a great start to the year. As last year’s focus of growth was on older adult programs, this year we will focus on building more relationships with schools and existing youth programs to educate students on gambling and problem gambling. Workshops designed for youth that embrace financial literacy and probability education as a path to problem gambling prevention will presented at various locations around the State. This program utilizes our Creative Activities for Probability and Statistics Curriculum, as well as Real Life 101: Financial Tips for Graduating Students, and our Teens Know Your Limits website. It is interactive and provides students with information to help them make informed decisions, know what signs to look for if someone has a problem, and where to find help.
This year we plan to continue building relationships with other populations, such as Veterans, Latinos, and African Americans. Check out this blog by former Council Intern, Thalia Yunen, to learn more about Latino Problem Gambling, and our outreach efforts.
If you are interested in hosting one of these workshops or if you would like more information on prevention programs, please contact Amanda Poggenburg.