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Read our latest blog posts here to find out what's happening within the Gordon Moody Association, and for interesting and informational articles related to support and help for gamblers, their friends and family.

GMA Weekly Blog 22nd January 2021

Published: 22 January 2021 by Dunc

LOOKING AFTER OURSELVES. 

Our staff know how vital it is to maintain essential services and look after others who need our help. But, we also recognised that looking after ourselves and other staff members is a vital part of keeping the service going. 

Our clinical director Dragos Dragomir explains what we are doing as an organisation to promote psychological well-being:  self-care and mindfulness at the workplace during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Promoting psychological well-being:  self-care and mindfulness at the workplace during the Coronavirus pandemic 

How does it feel when doing what you love suddenly starts putting your life at risk? This is a question that so many of us, working in the healthcare or in other essential working fields, are carrying for almost a year now. And it most definitely took its toll. It made it so much difficult for us to maintain our focus, commitment, and passion at the workplace. Thus, supporting our team and safeguarding each of our colleagues’ health and wellbeing, became of paramount importance for our organisation. 

It’s not difficult to understand why. Just picture this: your best employee standing outside, alone.  

At their feet is a blue line running perpendicular to the direction they are facing. 

Their toes are touching the line.  

The side of the line where they are standing is their current reality. 

The other side is everything their current reality is not.  

The other side is relief from whatever is causing them distress on this side of the line.  

It could be their uncertainty of still having a job next week.  

It could be their fear of exposure to the virus when they are caring for their elderly parents.  

It could be the pile of unread emails in their inbox or the overwhelming lack of energy in dealing with complex emotional issues presented by clients on a daily basis. 

At this moment, they are vulnerable. The next problem, request, or needless meeting is going to push them over the line. They don’t know if life on the other side of the line will be better or worse. They don’t care. It doesn't matter. All that matters is the other side of the line is different from their current reality. They have no idea what they want to do. They don’t hate where they are, but they have gotten to the point where they are ready to say, "Enough." 

It happens every day, and so much more so since last year. It happens to everyone. Do you notice when you are at the line? Do you notice when your employees are at the line? Can you step back? Can you help them step back? If you cannot, you're done. And so are they. And we did not want to ever find ourselves in that position. We wanted to create plans that will support our employees long before they even see that line. 

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic last year, here at Gordon Moody we continued to provide support for those most affected by gambling treatment. All throughout the last year we managed to be agile in the way we delivered our interventions and developed responses to the dynamics of our clients’ level of needs. However, over the last months, we became increasingly aware of how this 3rd wave of Covid is really taking its toll on everyone in our team. We were repeatedly forced to reshape the way we work, there was a constant threat of exposure to the virus, and also a looming uncertainty of the services closing down during lockdown— and all these combined are very difficult to juggle and can place any of us under immense stress. All this multitude of stressors that both frontline staff and the ones working from home face, carry a high risk of exacerbating emotional distress, burnout or more severe mental health issues. We understood that each team, and also each individual was facing and coping with Covid in a different way and we wanted to build a response that took into account those differences and offered all of us support, relief and the so much needed reassurance. For that, we have implemented a 3-part response plan that can support and improve our staff’s well-being.  

 

  1. Firstly, we introduced and encourage the use of the Wellness Action Plan - an evidence-based system used worldwide by people to manage their wellbeing at work - recommended by our colleagues at Mind. This is It is a personalised, practical tool we can all use – whether we struggle emotionally or not – to help us identify what keeps us well at work and what can we do to improve our self-care on a daily basis, what causes us to become unwell and what possible triggers can impact us at work and finally, the support we would like to receive from our managers to boost our well-being and actions and positive steps employees can take together with their manager if they are experiencing stress or poor mental health. An example of such step was the introduction of the ‘3-hours wellbeing break’ that all employees can take throughout the week. 

 

  1. The second part of the response involved something that we already had in place, but perhaps we were not using it as much as we could. This was raising awareness and encouraging our colleagues to use the EAP support provided by the organisation. With EAP they have access to a 24/7 telephone counselling helpline and is a free service to all staff. They can speak in confidence to an accredited counsellor for advice and info. This a confidential helpline that can support anyone with a wide range of issues, including stress and anxiety, health advice, emotional struggles, work dynamic issues, home relationships issues even financial and legal info. There are also online workbooks that can be downloaded. They provide resources and support for a wide range of issues, so well worth a look. 

 

  1. Finally, to further build our resilience skills and our ability to learn to relax in these difficult times, with the support of our colleague Kira a trained mindfulness teacher, we introduced the ‘Finding Peace in a Frantic World’ mindfulness course, that has been developed by Oxford Uni a few years back and used with their staff.  This is an 8 weeks long course providing 1.5 hours of group work each week, with additional short home practices and is focusing on managing stress and building resilience.  

 

And last, but not least, we are continuously striving to provide a transparent communication within the organisation, to find individual-based solutions to support everyone to be able to work at their best capacity and to encourage a sense of togetherness within the teams, that is so important in maintaining our sanity in these strange times.  

What are you doing to promote the health and well-being of your employees? 

 

  

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GMA Weekly Blog 8th January 2021

Published: 8 January 2021 by Dunc

Gordon Moody’s Weekly round up 

 

After many years of chaotic, stressful festive periods - I can honestly say that Xmas 2020 at GMA Dudley was a period of peace, laughter and reflection.  

I felt part of a therapeutic family - and can only thank all the staff for their generous provision of food, activities, gifts and care. 

Like most compulsive gamblers, the Christmas period (for me) in the past would involve living beyond my means, a string of broken promises and stressful living. 

Xmas 2020 at GMA was quite the opposite, and as I continue my journey of recovery from a crippling addiction - I felt safe, secure and optimistic that the future will be do much better than the past.  

It was a special time to reflect and connect with fellow residents. Sometimes genuine care and laughter really can be the best medicine. 

 

“Our state of mind defines every relationship in our life 

One of the biggest challenges and also one of the biggest unlockers in treating gambling addiction is understanding where people’s mental outlook is at at any time. 

This can be challenging enough in ‘normal times. But the times we are currently going through are anything but ‘normal’. 

In late November, we thought we were getting back to a semblance of ‘normality’, through our centres being up and running again and people completing their residential treatment. 

It still wasn't an easy period, with massive uncertainties about what was happening in the world and what the future held in store for us all as individuals. But we were back to doing what we feel we do best, providing a safe supporting environment to help people tackle their gambling addiction and move to a life free from addiction. 

Then, a few days before Christmas and subsequently, the new variant of coronavirus and a new national lockdown threatened to throw everything back to square one. 

We took a decision at GMA, however, that we weren’t going to let that happen. The challenges we had were added to by a small outbreak of covid cases at one of our residential centres. 

Staff at the centres and across our services took the brave decision to stay open, knowing that what we provide is too important for addicted gamblers and their families, and we needed to deliver a bit of certainty in uncertain times.  

So, we set about ensuring that we would keep the centres open and functioning to deliver what our residents critically needed at this time. 

To apply for treatment at Gordon Moody visit www.gordonmoody.org.uk or for more information call us on 01384 241292. 

The National Gambling Helpline is available 24/7 call free on 0808 802 0133  

 

Lessons of lockdown 

 

Learning from the first lockdown we had introduced a number of procedures and safeguards so that in the event of a positive test we were able to continue to provide therapy to our residents, with the sessions being delivered online through video calls. This ensured residents were able to safely self-isolate, their treatment could continue, and our frontline staff were protected. 

Our centre manager Dave, along with the support of his wife went above and beyond to arrange the delivery of supplies and run the necessary errands to ensure residents had everything they needed as well as a few extra food treats for Christmas dinner, some home cooking as well as a movie and a takeaway in place of the weekly activity. 

As best we could we made sure residents had all they needed.  But this was a challenging time for them - as it has been for anyone who has had to self-isolate. Their commitment to their continued treatment and their resilience in getting through this challenging period has to be admired and applauded.  

It was a terrific effort by all, providing the therapy sessions as well as other support that allowed residents to get on with life and enjoy Christmas together through mutual support. 

At both of our centres, we managed to keep things going, cards and presents were sent to loved ones and residents managed to celebrate Christmas in style if the lunch they cooked is anything to go by. 

 

 

Ready for 2021 

 

And, having got over that bump in the road, we are hoping that 2021 will see our charity make significant strides forward to continue delivering high quality treatment and support that allows gambling addicts and their families to rebuild and improve their state of mind and relationships. 

We know 2021 will not be without its challenges. But challenges can be both good and bad. 

There is a lot of hope that the vaccine will help us to operate and deliver great services for the many people and their families who we can help to tackle gambling addiction. 

And, there are a lot of very positive challenges for Gordon Moody this year. 

We will be opening the first women’s residential centre later in the year. It is also our 50th anniversary in the autumn, and we want to celebrate what has been achieved in that time and look confidently to the future where we can provide more services and support. 

Part of that celebration will be about sharing the stories of our residents, alumni, family members and staff and supporters. 

We are also working on to develop a new look and feel for the Gordon Moody brand and you’ll start to see that in areas like our website later in the year. At the same time, we’ll continue to improve our online support and assistance. 

We will also be working hard to influence Government in their review of the Gambling Act. We see this as a great opportunity to argue for more resources for capacity in residential treatment and move forward the public health conversation on the link between mental health problems and gambling addiction. 

The response of our staff last year fills us with confidence that we will meet these exciting challenges and develop a stronger set-up that helps deliver better ’states of mind’ for all in the Gordon Moody family in 2021. 

  

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GMA Weekly Blog 18th Dec 2020

Published: 18 December 2020 by Dunc

Gordon Moody’s Weekly round up 

T’was the blog before Christmas, so that means we’ll now be quiet and take a break for a couple of weeks until 5 January. 
 

We hope you all get some chance to rest and have some time where you can escape the worries about Covid and the other concerns that are big in all our minds just now. 

 

Inevitably, Christmas and New Year is a time of reflection as well. And this year has given us plenty to reflect on. 

 

Hopefully, a lot of that reflection can bring about forces for change that are positive and do some good. 

 

And, while everyone has rightly been concerned about physical health in light of the virus, one of the things we have learned during the past nine months or so is that mental health is equally as important. 

 

We are bracing ourselves for some real challenges in 2021. The past year has shown we can be proud of how we have adapted and put our service users first. 

 

But, there’s no doubt that the lasting impact of the pandemic is still to be felt. And all of us at Gordon Moody know there will be many challenges along the bumpy road that 2021 will be.  

The UK government’s gambling review could in some ways be quite timely, if it grabs the opportunity to make sure that more resources are put into treatment for severely addicted gamblers. 

 

We aim to be up for the challenge of 2021 because we know how vital it is to give addicted gamblers and their families real hope that things can change and their lives improve. 

 

Hope is in short supply at present, but it’s not vanished. 

 
Every week we see people regaining control of their lives and beating gambling addiction. Every week we see more people from diverse backgrounds reaching out to us for help. We are there to help people when they feel all else has failed. 

 

And that's the positive message we can take from 2020 and into 2021. Every person who starts or completes that recovery journey is a beacon of hope that life can get better, no matter how big their challenges and worries are. 

 

So, our Christmas and New Year message is be realistic, stay positive and don’t be afraid of reaching out for help and support. Support will be there whether you are a client, someone who is considering starting treatment or staff and alumni who have strained every nerve to get through the immense challenges of this past year. 

 
Whatever your Christmas brings, stay in the moment and enjoy it in whatever ways you can. 

 

To apply for treatment at Gordon Moody visit www.gordonmoody.org.uk or for more information call us on 01384 241292. 

The National Gambling Helpline is available 24/7 call free on 0808 802 0133  

Looking Back at 2020 

 

As you can see below 2020 has been a challenging year for GMA but also one of achievement. 

 

March 

Beckenham residential centre closes due to Covid. 

Outreach video groups for ex-residents begin quickly taking our outgoing interaction from 30 a month up to 250 a week to provide valuable support for our clients in recovery at a difficult time. 

 

April 

Pre-support introduced for clients waiting to come into treatment, with limited space available we provided virtual support through one to one online and phone sessions. 

 

May 

Family and Friends groups are launched, providing information and emotional support to those affected by another’s gambling. 

 

June 

Retreat and counselling run its first online programme, because the retreat is unavailable due to Covid. This ensures we can provide a treatment option for women gamblers. 

Beckenham residential centre re-opens following refurbishments and welcomes our first residents following the first lockdown. 

 

July 

Work begins on the refurbishment of the treatment facility and recovery housing at Dudley. 

 

August 

Chat function“talk to us”, powered by Gambling Therapy, goes live on the GMA website allowing people to reach us informally and outside of office hours if they need support or advice. 

 

September 

Gambling Therapy drafted in to assist with the GMA phonelines to provide additional hours of coverage and qualified colleagues to offer emotional support to callers in crisis. 

Our first resident to complete treatment post-lockdown graduates from Beckenham. 

 

October 

Work completed on Dudley Recovery House. 

 

November 

Gordon Moody Chief Executive Matthew Hickey gives evidence on gambling in lockdown to the All-Party Parliamentary Group.  

BBC national news and radio run a major piece on women’s gambling featuring the work of Gordon Moody and Gordon Moody staff, and showing treatment at Dudley Residential Centre. 

 

December 

Gordon Moody announces its plan to open a world-first women’s treatment centre in 2021. 

ITV national news broadcasts a feature on women’s gambling and our plans to open our residential women’s centre in 2021. 

 

Thanks to everyone who supported us especially our staff team who went over and above the call of duty to ensure we continued to support those in need at this difficult time. 

And looking forward to 2021… 

Watch this space… The blog is back on 5 January 

 

 

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