Wanted: community leaders interested in helping to educate and advocate for those in their community experiencing problem gambling.

MNAPG is in the process of organizing problem gambling awareness training sessions for community leaders to whom others turn for advice. The training is free and assists community leaders in helping others find the resources they need if they have a gambling problem.

The goal is to help those who need treatment get it as soon as possible. Research shows that it often takes seven to ten years before someone with a gambling problem seeks help. The earlier someone gets treatment, the lower the likelihood they will endure financial ruin, lose jobs and relationships, or experience a despair that ends in suicide.

In addition to helping people get help, community leaders are also in a position to reduce the stigma associated with gambling addiction. The goal of community leader training is to increase empathy and build knowledge about available resources rather than to provide professional treatment.

MNAPG will be offering the free, six-hour online training in partnership with Jody Bechtold from The Better Institute. Jody is a professional coach, gambling addiction expert, international speaker and trainer, and a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® certified facilitator.

Those taking the training will learn:

• Who is at risk for gambling disorder.

• The impacts on the family from gambling disorders.

• The often-overlapping occurrence of mental health problems, substance abuse and suicide.

• The need to understand finances in gambling disorders.

• Why it’s important to understand gambling-motivated crime.

• Choices for recovery and healing.

Following completion of the six-hour training, trainees will meet with MNAPG and other trainees for a two-hour in-person session to address questions or concerns. MNAPG’s goal is to build a network of trained leaders around the state to inform what additional resources and training may be needed to build greater awareness about gambling addiction.

Those interested in this training or desiring to learn more should contact Adina Black at asblack@mnapg.org. Remember, this training is offered at no cost.

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