We are 3+ years into the COVID-19 pandemic and providers across the country are reeling from the ripple effects on their own and their patients’ mental health. With heightened stress across all populations, we are seeing an increase in drinking, gambling, and other risky behaviors.
Now is such an important time to screen for Gambling Disorder. When preparing for telehealth visits with clients, be sure to check with your parent organization on its telehealth policy. Let each client you meet with via telehealth know about your policy on confidentiality and privacy. When beginning a session, ask your client:
- “Is it ok to talk now?”
- “Are you in a safe place? With privacy?”
- “Do you understand that this is a confidential conversation?”
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. 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.
Since the pandemic began, the Division has published a variety of op-eds and science reviews that seek to shed light on the myriad ways in which the pandemic and its effects (e.g., social isolation) has contributed to issues of problem gambling and addiction more broadly. The full-text readings are linked below:
- Gray, H.M. (2021). Introduction to the Special Series on Managing Addiction during COVID-19. The BASIS.
- Johnson, C. (2021). How the Pandemic Affected Me. The BASIS.
- McGahan, J. (2021). Never Get Comfortable: How We Adapted Our Programming to Continue Serving People in Recovery During the COVID-19 Pandemic. The BASIS.
- Sokol, R. (2021). Cambridge Health Alliance’s Experience During COVID: Providing Care to Our OUD Patient Population. The BASIS.
- Stark, S., (2021). Young Adults and Gambling during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ontario. The BASIS.
- Landauer, K. (2020). Gambling in the time of COVID-19: Mental health, substance use, and financial distress among high-risk online gamblers. The BASIS.
- LaPlante, D., & Shaffer, H.J. (2020). Caring for Others with Addiction During a Time of Uncertainty and Social Distancing. The BASIS.
- Shaffer, H.J., & LaPlante, D. (2020). Recovering from addiction during a time of uncertainty. Harvard Health Blog. https://www.health.harvard.edu/