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IDHS Recognizes March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Press Release - Tuesday, March 08, 2022

CHICAGO - Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) today recognized March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month in Illinois. To raise awareness around gambling disorders and honor those in recovery, participating buildings in downtown Chicago will be lit teal. Throughout the month, IDHS will partner with providers across the state to raise awareness around disorders as well as support and treatment options for those in need.

Awareness events will include gambling screenings, gambling presentations, workshops, and other events. A full list of related events can be found here.

"Individuals who struggle with gambling disorders seldom seek help and often hide their behavior from family members. This month is an opportunity for IDHS and our providers to come together to continue to get the word out about the recovery support services that are available," said IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou.

The IDHS Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (SUPR) continues to work with gambling providers to expand outreach and awareness of the problems that gambling can cause, and to connected impacted people with the services that support recovery.

SUPR has also helped providers prepare for an increase in problem gamblers coming in for treatment. In State Fiscal Year 2021, 13,037 assessments were conducted by treatment providers, representing a 440% increase over the previous year.  The significant growth was followed by a 185% increase over the previous year in the number of individuals receiving gambling treatment.

Over the past two years, there have been over 245 clinicians trained to provide gambling disorder treatment services in Illinois. This year, SUPR will provide monthly webinars focused on gambling disorder, a two-day Summit on Problem Gambling, as well as offer new opportunities for participation in the 30-hour Gambling Counselor Training.

This year, IDHS will complete the first-ever assessment of problem gambling and service needs in the State of Illinois. Based on studies conducted in 2021 by researchers at Health Resources in Action, the assessment will report on the prevalence of different types of gambling in the state, the prevalence of problem gambling in Illinois, the availability of treatment and other services, and overall attitudes about gambling.

If you or someone you know is experiencing problems with gambling, contact the State's Gambling Helpline Call: 1-800-GAMBLER, Text: "ILGAMB" to 53342, or chat here.

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