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MÉTIS VOYAGEUR

HEALING AND WELLNESS RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING | Poker-mania

Get rich quick, Get hooked even quicker

Great time and effort has been put into drug and alcohol education for our youth; we now must include gambling addiction...

By Loma Rowlinson MNO’s Provincial Aboriginal Responsible Gambling Coordinator

I n today’s society we have be- come accustomed to getting what we want, and fast. Youth are especially susceptible to the instant-gratification the professional poker world por- trays: with minimum effort one can have a luxurious lifestyle. Stress, financial instability, de- pression, isolation, and time spent away from friends and fam- ily are just some of the conse- quences the gaming industry does not portray.

Even though many youth are too young to participate at casi- nos, other means of gambling are readily accessible, such as betting on dares or challenges that they can do some specific thing, par- ticipating in 50/50 draws, playing poker for money, betting on sports events, and gambling on- line. Youth can easily gamble on- line because there is no one there to check the age of major- ity and a credit card can be “bor- rowed” from a family member and used without the owner’s knowledge or permission.

The reasons young people gamble include needing money or wanting to win back losses, feeling the “rush” of the win, and using gambling as a stress re-

liever. Another reason youth are gambling is that they believe they can become professional poker players and live the high life.

Advertising campaigns and the media have the power to shape our views and perceptions and they know just how to reach their target audience. This idea is supported by sports channels broadcasting large poker tourna- ments and classifying poker as a sport. Youth are receiving mixed signals; they are lead to believe that if poker is a sport, you need to “practice” to get better. There- fore, the more they gamble the better they become. It is very im- portant to remember that there is a skill component to poker; however, poker is still a game of chance because the cards cannot be manipulated to one’s advan- tage.

Poker tournaments in private homes and bars have become the “in” thing to do. Kids in high school are now having poker “get-togethers” where they play for real money. Teens are not ready to deal with the aftermath of gambling addiction.

Special Warning: What about younger children? Never before has it been more crucial that par- ents monitor all online activities for children of all ages. One prime example is the website www.neopets.com. Games on

YOUTH GAMBLING According to the Responsible Gambling Council, our youth are not just gambling, they are gambling a lot:

  • Youth aged 14-24 years are twice as likely to have gambling problems as adults or seniors.

  • 2.7% of youth have severe gambling problems.

  • 8.3% of young people in Ontario age 14-18 self-iden- tify with gambling problems.

  • 25,000-30,000 youth have a gambling problem in Ontario.

EVEN THOUGH MANY YOUTH ARE TOO YOUNG TO PARTICIPATE AT CASINOS, OTHER MEANS OF GAMBLING ARE READILY ACCESSIBLE

this site are aimed at YOUNG children and mimic casino games. Here a child can adopt a “virtual pet.” It seems harmless enough. However, this site lists games of “chance and luck” where a child can bet “neo- points” on games such as black- jack, slots, and keno, as well as several other games of chance. Kindergarten age children are be- ing tutored in the methods of casino gambling and introduced to the addictive qualities of gam- bling.

Great time and effort has been put into drug and alcohol educa- tion for our youth; we now must include gambling addiction awareness to this list. So, how can we beat this growing prob- lem? How can we help our youth to develop healthy gambling practices?

  • Start young; it’s never too early to educate our children about gambling and setting limits.

  • Do not purchase or give lot- tery or scratch tickets as a gift.

  • Keep youth busy with other extracurricular and intramural activities; give them an alter- native to gambling as a recre- ational activity.

  • Teach youth alternative stress reduction activities.

  • Model responsible gambling

practices; don’t brag about wins at the casino or talk about exciting trips to the casino.

  • Monitor what your children, teens and young adults are playing on the internet; set time limits and redirect to ap- propriate websites.

  • Read all credit card state- ments carefully; if your chil- dren have access to your credit card, they may use it to register at online gambling sites and may put your card at risk for credit card fraud.

The Métis Nation of Ontario’s Aboriginal Responsible Gam- bling Program continues to identify unique needs in our communities. We have a new “ outh and Internet Gambling” pamphlet available at our offices across the province. In addition, our website will soon have an interactive educational slot ma- chine where you can ‘test your luck’ and knowledge about gam- bling. Coming this summer is the release of our new “Métis outh and Internet Gambling” DVD where Métis youth share their gambling experiences. For more information, please visit our website or contact one of our healing and wellness workers.

www.metisnation.org/gambling

NORTH BAY MÉTIS COUNCIL | SERVICE PROVIDER WELLNESS

Workers take time to care for selves

by Stacey Rivet Healing and Wellness Co-ordinator and Amanda Desbiens Aboriginal Healthy Babies, Healthy Children Co-ordinator NORTH BAY

A s service providers, we are often painted as the helpers and take little time to care for ourselves. At the North Bay office of the Métis Nation of Ontario, the Heal- ing and Wellness Branch staff opted to do a series of workshops during lunchtime based on serv- ice provider wellness. We chose the end of our fiscal year, a time filled with paperwork, budgets and sometimes a little stress. This is a time when frontline workers need to be reminded to care for themselves.

The MNO Community Well- ness Worker Program and the

Aboriginal Healthy Babies, Healthy Children Program teamed up to bring physical fit- ness and even a few laughs to our workers. We kick started our se- ries part way through the month with a workshop related to burnout and compassion fatigue. We educated our workers on the difference between the two; tested their stress levels to see their probability of being burned out, and educated them on pre- ventative measures. We then de- cided to add a bit of fun to the mix and created our own version of “Minute to Win it” in which our ‘contestants’ were asked to per- form various challenges using household items within a minute. Not only were the challenges fun, but it gave us an opportunity to show our silly sides and to be able to see all levels of the office being ridiculous. We also included a

WE CHOSE THE END OF OUR FISCAL YEAR, A TIME FILLED WITH PAPERWORK, BUDGETS AND SOMETIMES A LITTLE STRESS. THIS IS A TIME WHEN FRONTLINE WORKERS NEED TO BE REMINDED TO CARE FOR THEMSELVES.

workshop about conflict resolu- tion--something everyone is faced with--and included a few fun im- provisation games at the end. An- other event we held during lunchtime was a murder mystery. We invited our staff and a few spe- cial guests to come together and become investigators, suspects, and even victims to share some lunch and some laughs.

The other side to this was the physical fitness events that we held. Sitting in an office all day provides minimal exercise and can cause sore backs, so, we de- cided to put together a few lunchtime fitness activities that included playing various Wii games as well as an outing to go bowling. We provided education about nutrition and physical fit- ness to aid our staff in keeping themselves healthy. Not only was the Healing and Wellness staff

planning events, but Linda Krause, our Education and Train- ing Coordinator also jumped on the wagon and organized a ‘dress silly’ day for the office which al- lowed us to truly demonstrate our silly sides.

From placement students, to frontline staff and even manage- ment, this gave us the opportu- nity to come together, learn and laugh at one another. Taking time out from a stressful period can help us revitalize and seize the day whole heartedly. If you are in- terested in any information about our Service Provider Wellness ses- sions you can contact Stacey Rivet, Community Healing and Wellness Coordinator for the North Bay Métis Nation of On- tario office.

staceyr@metisnation.org amandad@metisnation.org

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