But McNeese State University can still find help for problem gamblers now.
Since 2000, McNeese State University has offered such local assistance to over 500 individuals and their families affected by problem gambling through the McNeese Project for the Treatment of Problem Gambling.
The project, a professional and confidential outpatient treatment program, is free to the public for those needing help coping with their gambling problems, according to Annette Kent, outreach coordinator for the project.
The project is associated with the McNeese Department of Psychology and is housed in the Kay Doré Counseling Clinic on the second floor of Farrar Hall.
Kent said a 2008 study conducted for the Department of Health and Hospitals revealed as many as 100,000 Louisiana citizens struggle with problem gambling every day.
“As the nation’s economic crisis deepens, that number may grow even larger as people find themselves tempted to address financial difficulties by gambling,” she said.
The McNeese outpatient treatment program for problem gambling is focused on clients from the surrounding five-parish area. Services offered in the treatment program include: screening and assessment, individual counseling, couples therapy, 12-step facilitated treatment, relapse prevention, pre-trial diversion, family therapy and continuing care.
“Our treatment is evidence-based in its approach and tailored to meet the individual needs of each client. Behavior change is challenging. We have trained professionals who provide expert treatment in a safe, supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment. Our staff is dedicated to helping our clients achieve the change they desire, with dignity and respect,” said Kent.
She listed some signs of problem gambling:
--Preoccupied with gambling; thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble;
--Need to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve excitement;
--Gambling until your last dollar was gone;
--Having a strong urge to return and win back your losses or to win more;
--Lie to family, friends and employers about your gambling;
--Neglecting the welfare of yourself or family members;
--Gambling to escape loss, problems, frustrations, loneliness, boredom and disappointments
--Promising to stop gambling if someone pays off debts;
--Illegal acts to finance gambling which include fraud, theft, writing of “hot” checks, embezzling money and forgery;
--Special days and events revolve around gambling;
--Considered self destruction or thought about committing suicide because of gambling.
For more information about the McNeese program, call (337) 475-5964 or visit online at www.mcneese.edu/gamblers