Gambling may seem like a fun way to pass the time, but for many people it can lead to a serious gambling addiction that can affect their mental health and their wallet. Luckily, people suffering through this problem don’t have to go through it alone.
Gambling & Stigma, an event hosted by the YMCA, happened on Feb. 7 at the AC Hub on the second floor of Student Commons. Five students attended the event, however many people studying in the AC Hub were listening in.
The topics included how gambling starts, how stigma can affect people, and the best ways to help others going through a gambling addiction.
“The purpose of this event is to be aware of the consequences and the stigma of excessive gambling,” event coordinator Nick Renaud said. Renaud is also a part of the Youth Gambling Awareness Program at the YMCA.
Renaud made sure to explain to everyone that gambling is neither positive nor negative. There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account when talking with individuals who suffer from a gambling addiction. He said that when discussing something as taboo as gambling, it’s important to take every situation into account.
Renaud explained how stigma is created. Stigma is created by labelling someone, then giving them a stereotype, then separating yourself from them and making their friends or family discriminate against them. This can lead to mental health issues for the individual who gambles, he said.
The event also had some exercises that students could do. There was an exercise about different real life cases of gambling victims. Participants reviewed the cases and discussed how the person’s gambling addiction began and how they felt.
There was also a discussion about common misconceptions people have about gamblers.
“One common misconception is the idea that they started gambling. Sometimes you can be exploited into gambling,” Hunter Brown, a professional writing student, said.
When talking about how to help someone going through a gambling addiction, students had a lot of different answers. However, the most common answer was to be a helping hand to the individual struggling with addiction.
“Let them know that you’re a safe person to come to when they talk about their problems,” Jerrica Black, a professional writing student, said.
More information about gambling and addictions can be found at connexontario.ca or by calling 1-866-531-2600.