The Problem Gambling Help Line provides free 24-hour help to people with gambling problems and their families. Callers receive confidential, professional service from trained counsellors. The help line provides:
- short-term counselling;
- crisis intervention services; and
- referrals to regional health authority problem gambling counsellors and self-help groups.
Counselling services for people experiencing problems related to their gambling and for their families are available free of charge to Saskatchewan residents. To find services in your area, contact the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
Services are offered by experienced counsellors who work in out-patient settings.
An individual does not have to be in crisis, nor does gambling have to be the main reason for seeking help. Family members are also encouraged to contact problem gambling counsellors if they are concerned about another person’s gambling behaviour.
- The first step in professional counselling is to set up an appointment by calling the counsellor. You do not need a physician’s referral. An individual who is very depressed or suicidal should state the urgency for assistance when arranging to talk to a counsellor.
- One on one sessions usually last an hour. However, if required, longer appointments can be scheduled. Information shared during the session is confidential.
- At the first meeting, the counsellor will ask questions about the individual’s situation. The counsellor assists the gambler to deal with urgent, immediate issues first. This might include establishing controls to limit spending or access to money, discussing ways to avoid gambling venues and dealing with urgent emotional, family, legal, work or school issues. The counsellor may have the client provide written information to gain a clear understanding of the difficulties the client is facing.
- The counsellor may recommend a plan of action that includes a certain number of sessions and topics for discussion. These topics may include financial management, stress reduction, family communication skills, alternative recreational activities, the role of Gamblers Anonymous, and practical ideas on how to avoid “triggers” to gambling. The counsellor may suggest other professional resources to assist with specific problem areas such as legal problems, financial crisis or severe depression. Individuals seeking assistance are free to accept or reject the recommendations of counsellors and to suggest other ideas that might be effective.
- You have the option to change counsellors if you are dissatisfied.