The COVID-19 pandemic complicates screening for Gambling Disorder. The Division on Addiction is here to support you as you move forward through this time with your clients.

Screening for Gambling Disorder is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stressful life situations can exacerbate gambling problems. Some people may gamble to manage difficult emotions, which they are more likely to experience during this time. You can find deeper discussions of these challenges in a BASIS editorial and a Harvard Medical School blog post that address these issues.

If you are connecting with clients in virtual space, you can use our Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen (BBGS) e-screener instead of a paper copy. This e-screener is available in 22 languages, to best serve your client population.

Fortunately, we provide many free resources and tools online. You can direct clients with a positive BBGS screen, or those who are concerned about their own or a loved one’s gambling, to our referrals and key hotlines pages. Our Your First Step to Change self-help workbook is available online at no cost.

If you share links to any resources in a chat feature of a video call, we recommend sending a follow-up email with those links as well. Chat messages disappear after a call on many platforms.

Many people who are experiencing gambling problems are already seeking help for other expressions of addiction or mental health difficulties. Our key hotlines page also includes hotlines for some of these non-gambling needs. Clients are less likely to be receiving other services during the pandemic, meaning their struggles may go unnoticed at the time they are most in need of help.