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Posted: December 14, 2018

New opportunities for community to access services

British Columbia Responsible & Problem Gambling Program (RPGP) has offered prevention and counselling services in the province for over 15 years.

Recent additions to the program have created new opportunities for community members to access services.

Michelle Shewell works in this program in the area of prevention, community engagement and outreach. In addition to widening the reach of services to include issues related to video games, Michelle describes two programs that are available at no cost to folks in Cranbrook and surrounding communities.

Community health promotion is a perspective that has recently taken off in the East Kootenay. Working in a broad-scope with the aim of strengthening health, well-being and resiliency, this approach will address the root causes of harmful behaviours, such as problematic gambling or gaming. The RPGP has integrated this perspective into exciting initiatives in the Kootenays for over two years now, and the results are promising.

Michelle shares one local example of what this look like in practice.

Connecting older adults with youth supports in building the blocks of development that help young people grow up with tools to face adversity, think critically, and make healthy choices.

Every month, Michelle Shewell partners with Carey Henry from the Seniors in Partnership Program, and the students at Mount Baker Secondary School, to host an event titled ‘Seniors Meeting Youth.’

Students join over 15 older adults for a hosted dialogue opportunity. Michelle and Carey guide each session by creating inclusive activities with the goal of encouraging meaningful conversation.

“Last month was really amazing,” Michelle shared. “The topic was the history of games and human connection. Carey and I prepared a toolbox of activities, icebreakers, and dialogue questions in anticipation of some breaks in conversation. This month, there was not a moment to spare, as older adults taught youth the ins-and-outs of Cribbage, Skip-Bo and other favourites. At one point the teacher of this class pulled [me] aside to share a story of a student engaging in a way that they had never seen in their many years of knowing them. It was a very touching experience and confirmation that having intentional space for connection is invaluable.”

A second opportunity that the BC RPGP has introduced is the Gam Info Rep role. This new program was created to supplement the free, low-barrier counselling service that is available for anyone who wishes to talk about their own gambling/gaming or is worried about a friend or family member’s struggles.

Michelle shares about the new resource.

“Sometimes folks aren’t quite sure if they want counselling, and just want to hear about the options available before making a decision. Other times a person may just want someone to check in on them with a phone call or meet for a coffee before they decide what action they would like to take. Because the program uses a person-centred approach – we will find a creative solution that works for the person and, if they wish, follow up to ensure that the resource continues to work for them.”

Please see contact details below to connect with someone from this program

Michelle Shewell – Text or call: 778-963-0808 / Toll Free 833-963-0808;

choicesandchances.ca / bcresponsiblegambling.ca

BC Gam Info Line (24/7 toll free): 1-888-795-6111

Follow the Cranbrook Social Planning Society Facebook page to stay informed about issues in your community – www.facebook.com/CranbrookSocialPlanning, meeting details and activities are posted often.

The next meeting of the society is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15 starting at 10 a.m. in the Chamber of Commerce meeting room, 2279 Cranbrook Street North, parking across the street, please enter from the side door.

Our thanks to the chamber for providing such a great place to hold our meetings. Join us to learn of community services, activities and ways you can be involved.

Lead image from British Columbia Responsible & Problem Gambling Program

Submitted by the Cranbrook Social Planning Society

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