Needless to say, we live in a world where texting seems the preeminent form of communication. So why shouldn’t it play an important role in helping someone with a gambling problem.
Now, in Minnesota, it does. LifeWorks, which manages the Minnesota Problem Gambling Helpline, now offers a service called Encourage Me that consists of motivational text messaging.
Encourage Me motivational text messaging is offered to both gamblers and affected others in both English and Spanish. Messages are sent twice each week for three months and are tailored to fit into the client’s stage of change, as clients require a different type of information and support in each stage. The messages provide both information about gambling and problem gambling, encouragement to change, and tips and suggestions on how to make the changes they want to make.
“We realize that some people may just be thinking about changing, while others need maintenance during the recovery period,” says Ashley Trantham, Manager of Customer Success at LifeWorks. Motivational messaging is offered as a supplemental treatment tool and isn’t meant to be a substitute for counseling.
Here are some questions and answers about Encourage Me:
· The program was developed using research from successful healthcare-related texting programs such as smoking cessation, weight loss, and medication management.
· Text messages have a 98% open rate vs. a 20% open rate for emails.
· Text messages can be opened at any time that is most convenient to the user.
· Available on almost every model of mobile phone.
· Provides a reminder that someone cares.
· Reminds the user that help is available.
Is it effective?
Yes! Outcome surveys are conducted at the conclusion of the texts and in the first year, 86% of survey responses indicated that receiving a text message every week helped keep them focused and working on their goals about gambling. Example comment: “I have not gambled since calling the helpline and found the text messages helpful for reinforcement, reminding me to focus on my goal of not gambling.”
Examples of texts
Contemplation: Consider changing your thoughts from “I have to stop gambling” to “I want to stop gambling”
Preparation: You have made significant progress by just acknowledging that gambling is no longer fun. You’re on the right path.
Action: Today is the day to be good to yourself. Take a walk, enjoy the warmth of the sun, or give yourself the gift of feeling good about managing your gambling.
Maintenance: Take the time to review and modify your goals and plans for recovering from problem gambling. Stay active in your recovery!
Can a person enroll more than once?
How do I enroll a client?
Clients are offered Encourage Me messages as a standard part of their call to the Problem Gambling Helpline. If your client has not yet enrolled, you can enroll them by calling the helpline together or recommending that they contact the Helpline themselves. Curious? You can call and sign yourself up, too!