The Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health launched a new weapon in the war against addictive gambling Tuesday – online self-help tools.
Anonymous, free, and accessible any time of day from a computer with an internet connection, these new tools are available at Problem Gambling.ca.
A PGIO spokesman said that there are many barriers to getting help with a gambling problem, including shame, time constraints, lack of transportation, and having difficulty coming to terms with the existence of a gambling problem.
“These self-help gambling tools address these barriers as they are completely self-directed and convenient to use,” he said.
“For individuals with iPhones, there is even a free application available in the app store that allows you to monitor your gambling behaviour and track your urges to gamble, with other mobile platforms coming soon. People who keep track of their gambling behaviour are more successful when trying to quit or reduce gambling.”
The tools also assist family members and friends in navigating the difficult challenges faced by a loved one’s gambling.
Features on the Problem Gambling.ca site include:
•Gambling Quiz: Answering nine questions to help punters with a problem understand if gambling is having a negative impact.
•Self-Help for Those who Gamble: Interactive tools to help players explore, cut down or stop gambling.
•Self-Help for Family and Friends: Interactive exercises, to learn why gamblers gamble and can be done to help.
•Monitor Your Gambling & Urges: Helps gamblers keep track of when they gamble, or feel the urge to gamble. Mobile App versions of this tool suitable for most hand-held devices will also be available in the near future.
“If you’re trying to resist gambling urges, you might find doing these activities a great way to avoid the temptation to gamble,” says Robert Murray, Manager of the Problem Gambling Project at the PGIO.
“Therapists and other helping professionals can also use these tools to complement their counseling sessions by encouraging their clients to access them from home between visits.”