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 15th April 2020
Published: 15 May 2020 by Dunc
It’s been emotional! I don’t think for a minute that the public thought that lockdown would be coming to an end following the government’s announcement at the start of the week but I think having the prime minister confirm it has certainly affected the mood. We are seeing light at the end of the tunnel with some businesses re-opening, rules on exercise being relaxed and more importantly we are able to meet family (albeit one at a time, outdoors and 2 meters apart) but the reality that we still have weeks of home schooling, fridge raiding and pyjama dwelling to go, as we have discussed at GMA this week is daunting but hang in there! We will get through this. As with the rest of the country we are all grateful at GMA and send our best wishes to the frontline workers in all roles, working in such testing conditions to keep us all safe, Thank you!
National Mental Health Awareness Week
Monday is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and GMA will be supporting the theme of Kindness with information, activities and collaborations throughout the week so watch out for our updates on social media. We realise at GMA how tough this situation has been on our mental health, we have introduced mindfulness for our colleagues and given them all 3 hours a week to spend on themselves but more importantly we have been talking about our mental health and encouraging each other to be kind to themselves. We often forget to look out for our own welfare especially at a time when so many are in need. Think about the safety demonstration you get on a plane before take-off, make sure you put on your lifejacket before helping someone else with theirs…. It’s good advice! Below are some thoughts on being kind to yourself from Paul a member of the therapy team at GMA
Looking After One “Self”
Written by Paul Dent MSc PG Dip MBACP Clinical Manager at Gambling Therapy
The “self” is a very important construct in therapy. Linking with the theme from Mental Health Awareness Week, it is important in these Covid times that we are kind to our “selves”. When dealing with the daily pressures of clients, the demands of the other staff and possible family it is very easy to put your own needs on hold. Booking meetings back to back or pushing boundaries may seem very efficient use of time but not building in breaks does give you an opportunity to recharge, refocus and think about the overall picture.
No matter how much we hear the mantra of “we will get through this”, life is still for living – we will not get this time back. Covid is just another experience or “challenge” in life’s journey, depending on your mindset. Therefore, it is imperative to find time each day to be “kind” to yourself. Build in activities that you enjoy, that take you away from the activities and stresses of the day and that allow you to focus on why you are here. This can be physical (just taking a 30-minute walk has huge benefits) mental (listening to your favourite book or podcast) or even better do both at the same time (multitasking
Only when you have been “kind” to your inner self will you be able to project confidently your values, beliefs, and true emotions to others as well as cope with the challenge that life can throw at you.
As well as a Clinical Manger for Gambling Therapy, Paul is an experienced counsellor with many years of experience of working in private and non-profit settings. The tools he uses are primarily Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
and psychodynamic counselling, delivered both face-to-face and online that focus on delivering positive solutions that enable the client to move forward. His focus is how trauma can cause addictions in later life.
Our residential treatment programme continues to run, and we plan to be admitting new residents as soon as it is safe to do so, the safety of our colleagues and clients is at the heart of all our decision making. Refurbishments to our Beckenham facility are nearing completion and we look forward to sharing the transformation and welcoming new residents soon. Virtual support is being offered to our male and female clients, those waiting to enter treatment, affected others and our ex-residents. We have increased our outgoing interactions with our service users 10-fold in the last few weeks with over 200 calls being made each week a fantastic effort from the team.
To apply for a treatment place at GMA visit www.gordonmoody.org.uk or call 01384 241 292
For international, multilingual support for anyone affected by problem gambling visit www.gamblingtherapy.org or download the Gambling Therapy App.
Thanks for reading, stay safe!
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GMA Weekly Blog 7th May 2020
Published: 7 May 2020 by Dunc
Here’s me thinking we were slowing down! Another week has passed us by in no time at all and as we enter into the long May bank holiday weekend has anyone stopped to think about our journey over the last 6-8 weeks? I have recently taken some time off work and it was only on my return that I realised how much is changing at GMA as well as in our sector and in our lives.
The current situation has meant we have had to change and adapt many of our services at GMA but it has also helped us to think about how we intend to provide the best possible support for those most affected by problematic gambling going forward. We completed over 250 interactions with our residential service users last week through phone and video chat as well as hundreds more worldwide through our international Gambling Therapy service which continues to be busy.
Many countries around the world are starting to relax their lockdown measures and hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel in the UK too with the Prime Minister set to outline plans on Sunday. Whilst social distancing measures are sure to stay in place for some time to come, the commencing of a return to normal will come as welcome news to many not least those waiting to enter treatment for gambling addiction at Gordon Moody. Much planning and preparation has been done ready to welcome new residents to our treatment centres with much needed refurbishments nearing completion in Beckenham and planned for Dudley, a huge thank you to everyone both at GMA and externally who have made this possible. The success of our virtual support for residents pre and post treatment, affected others and overseas clients will not be lost as we return to normal and will continue to form a vital part of our programme. As with many organisations during this period the welfare of our colleagues has been of paramount importance to us and we will continue to offer support, training, mindfulness, and protected time. For anyone providing help and support to others it is so important they look after themselves too.
Opinions, facts, and the perception of what’s true
It is difficult to know what is really going on at the moment isn’t it! In the news the figures published relating to coronavirus are interpreted differently depending on the agenda of the author. We often choose to get our information from sources that are in alignment with our own beliefs, whether it be the newspaper you read or the people you follow online. Very often the statistics/data/numbers that are presented are the same, it is the interpretation of those numbers that leads us to believe whether the news is good or bad, a success or a failure (Coronavirus testing anyone?). This has been highlighted with the ongoing discussion around gambling advertising. Today marks the start of a voluntary ban on all gambling advertising by members of the Betting and Gaming Council, whilst some see this as a positive step there are also those that do not think this goes far enough and online advertising as well as direct emails and texts from operators should also be addressed. It is completely reasonable to suggest that in these times with people watching more tv and using more screen time that the perception is that there is more gambling advertising at this time but is that really the case? These two articles offer different opinions on the subject.
What do you think? What is your perception of the industry? Feel free to join the conversation by following us on social media, addresses at the bottom of this blog.
Something that we can be sure of during this period is that less people are reaching out for help with their gambling but people are without a doubt more vulnerable, of the previously mentioned 255 interactions carried out by GMA last week 80% were us reaching out. If you are concerned about your gambling help is available you can contact us online www.gordonmoody.org.uk or call us 01384 241 292 our Gambling Therapy service is also available providing online, international support for anyone affected by problem gambling www.gamblingtherapy.org alternatively you can find support at www.begambleaware.org and www.gamcare.org.uk who also run the 24hr national gambling helpline 0808 8020 133.
Thanks for reading
Look after yourselves everyone, take care of each other and stay safe.
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GMA Weekly Blog 17th April 2020
Published: 17 April 2020 by Dunc
GMA Weekly Blog
Another busy week has come to an end at GMA, I think we all felt that this period of lockdown to combat the spread of Covid-19 would be extended by the government and as we prepare to face another 3 weeks of restrictions it is important we focus on our mental wellbeing. Like many other support services in this field we have seen a drop in traffic on our helpline as well as a decrease in demand for our residential treatment. In contract our ex-residents have expressed a greater need for support, and we have delivered online support groups for them daily attracting over 120 attendees in less than 3 weeks.
Our former service users are aware of their relationship with gambling and through treatment are aware of the fact they need to work on their recovery, this led me to thinking about how the public are managing their relationship with gambling at this time so I’ve shared my thoughts below and hope that anyone concerned about gambling at this time can use the information to seek help.
Gambling harm – Flattening the curve
At what point does gambling become harmful? When does play move from the recreational to the problematic and when should you seek help? From a financial perspective when the player loses more than they wish to or had planned, it is likely they will experience a form of harm. When more is lost than the player can afford this becomes problematic as it will impact on other areas of their lives, the ability to pay bills, worry, stress and strained relationships are examples. Peoples financial situation has changed during this period, some are under increased pressure due to losing work or being furloughed, some have additional disposable income due to the fact that they are no longer able to enjoy weekends away, meals out, sporting events or trips to the pub. The UKGC has asked the industry to act responsibly when carrying out customer affordability checks at this time and many will but with so much fluctuation in peoples circumstances I would urge anyone who gambles not to rely purely on the industry to spot any issues but to be aware of your own spending, how does it compare with what you would spend normally then ask yourself am I ok with that?
Time spent gambling can be another indicator of harm or problematic symptoms, let’s face it many of us are doing things to excess at this time, watching TV/boxsets, gaming, reading, gardening, opening the fridge and staring blankly at its contents, anything to alleviate the boredom right? This can apply to gambling too, despite the closure of land based organisations and the cancellation of sporting events online casinos are still operational and many will enjoy their products as a form of entertainment during this period, but how long does a session of play need to be before there is an issue? Again, whilst operators are urged to increase their social responsibility interactions it is important to access your own time spent gambling, has it increased or decreased during the last few weeks? what could you have been doing but instead chose to gamble? Most importantly, ask yourself am I ok with that?
Behavioural signs of harmful or problematic gambling can be spotted in land-based gambling establishments and staff are trained to identify and interact with anyone displaying these signs but what about online? Analytics and the research into harmful play patterns online has come on leaps and bounds in recent times but as with money and time our behaviour has changed during this period. The UKGC have advised operators to be aware that customers could be more vulnerable at this time, I think it is safe to say that we are all potentially more vulnerable currently and it is important for us to be aware of our mental wellbeing. Ask yourself why you gamble, is it to alleviate boredom, stress, anger, anxiety? How do you feel when you gamble or after gambling? Has a family member commented on your gambling? Are you gambling in secret? If so, why do you feel the need to do that? You may be on your own or in isolation has your gambling behaviour changed due to this and if so, are you ok with that?
Gambling operator’s Customer service teams can advise you on tools to help you stay in control so please ask if you need advice, you can also reach out for free support and advice to www.begambleaware.org www.gamcare.org.uk or phone the national gambling helpline on 08088 020 133 for international support and advice our Gambling Therapy service is operating as usual visit www.gamblingtherapy.org both services offer a self-test based on the problem gambling severity index (PGSI) if you are unsure about your gambling or feel vulnerable these are a good tool. Treatment for problem gambling can still be accessed at this time, if you feel you need help you can call the national problem gambling helpline on 0808 8020 133 or you can apply for a place on one of our treatment programmes at Gordon Moody by visiting our website www.gordonmoody.org.uk or calling us on 01384 241 292. To exclude yourself from online gambling operators you can visit www.gamstop.co.uk or to block gambling sites you can use www.gamban.com please don’t suffer in silence and reach out if you need help.
There will inevitably be a range of “spikes” when restrictions on our lives are lifted. Gym registrations, Restaurant bookings, short breaks, or holidays to name but a few. But what about people seeking treatment for problematic gambling? If you feel your gambling activity or behaviour would cause you a problem under normal circumstances or you are worried about a loved one, please do not wait until restrictions are lifted to do something about it as help is available
Thanks for reading
Look after yourselves everyone, take care of each other and stay safe.
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