Ohio For Responsible Gambling has free resources to help Ohioans dealing with gambling addiction.
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and experts say the suicide rate among those experiencing problem gambling is the highest of all addictions.
"There's a strong connection between a person's mental health and gambling activity," said Stacey Frohnapfel-Hasson, prevention chief, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. "For those living with gambling disorder, up to 38% will consider ending their lives."
The 2017 Report on Problem Gambling Services shows that nearly one in ten Ohioans who gamble are currently experiencing or are at-risk of developing a gambling problem. That's more than 900,000 Ohioans.
Derek Longmeier, executive director, Problem Gambling Network of Ohio, wants to make sure Ohioans understand the risks of problem gambling and educate themselves on setting limits, especially as Ohio is set to legalize sports betting on Jan. 1, 2023.
"The challenges of problem gambling and suicide go far beyond the person placing a bet," he said. "Families, children, businesses, and schools all feel the loss and pain that comes with a person's gambling addiction."
Longmeier emphasizes the importance of early detection. Because problem gambling doesn't have physical symptoms, he says it's important for people to have a keen eye to issues like:
- Lying or hiding how much time and money is spent gambling
- Showing a sudden decrease in work performance
- Asking for loans or bailouts to get out of debt
- Using money for core expenses like food and rent for gambling
- Acting anxious or agitated
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Having extreme mood swings
Anyone having suicidal thoughts should call the new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Additionally, the Problem Gambling Helpline is available 24/7 at 1-800-589-9966 or texting 4HOPE to 741741. Specialists can connect callers with treatment options in their area within 24 hours. Those wanting to learn more about problem gambling can visit www.beforeyoubet.org; it features a free online quiz to help people better understand if they have a potential problem with gambling and healthy tips to help keep playing responsibly.
Sarah Irvin Clark
SOURCE Ohio for Responsible Gambling