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Gambling

 

What it is

Gambling is any activity in which a person risks money (or something of value) on an event that has an uncertain outcome. A variety of gambling activities—slot machines, VLTs, card games, lottery tickets, and games of skill—are available to Canadians, both online and offline. People often gamble to win prizes, socialize or pass the time, or to support a charity or fundraising event. Gambling is legal in Canada. While most people who gamble do it without developing problems, it does pose potential risks and health concerns.

 

Signs of a possible problem

Problem gambling is not just about losing money. Gambling can affect a person’s whole life. You—or a loved one—may experience problems in any of the following ways.

 

Behaviour

  • missing family events
  • changing patterns of sleep, eating, or sex
  • ignoring self-care, work, school
  • neglecting kids
  • often late for work or school
  • gone for long, unexplained periods of time

 

Emotions

  • anxiety
  • mood swings or sudden outbursts of anger
  • boredom or restlessness
  • depressed or suicidal

 

Finances

  • borrowing or stealing money 
  • taking a second job without a change in finances
  • cashing in savings accounts
  • alternating between being broke and flashing money

 

Health

  • headaches
  • stomach and bowel problems
  • difficulty sleeping
  • overeating or loss of appetite

 

The Risks

Risks include spending more money than you intended to spend, falling behind at work due to time spent gambling, conflict with loved ones, and feeling hopeless, anxious and/or depressed.

 

Lowering the risk

Plan ahead for exactly how much money you’re able to spend. Set a time limit before you start and stick to this time limit by setting an alarm or having someone pick you up at that time. Use only money you can afford to lose—that is, money you’ve set aside for entertainment purposes (not for bills or food). Only gamble socially. Understand your odds of winning. Keep very close track on how much time and money you are spending. Take frequent breaks. Be aware of your motivation for gambling—if you are feeling lonely, sad or anxious, remind yourself that gambling will not help these problems in the long term (and may worsen them).

 

When to seek help

Gambling is a problem if it negatively affects your life, or the life of someone you care about—such as the signs listed above. Treatment, including counselling, is available to Nova Scotians affected by gambling. Counselling can help people understand why they gamble, so they can stop, cut down, or change their gambling habits.

 

 

Tools

Mental Health 101

Knowledge is power. This series of free online tutorials is a starting point for learning about mental health.​ You can come away with a greater understanding of the mental health concern you are interested in knowing more about.

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Adults / Seniors / Youth

21 Program(s)

IWK Mental Health and Addictions Program

IWK
This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

The IWK Mental Health and  Addictions Program provides specialized care throughout the province for children and youth up until their 19th birthday within a patient and family...

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Children / Youth

The Marguerite Centre

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

The Marguerite Centre provides a holistic, women-centred approach to recovery from substance misuse and gambling addiction. We are an inclusive, safe, non-judgmental...

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Gambling Support Network

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Gambling Support Network: A confidential, dedicated, toll-free telephone service available to all Nova Scotians. Provided by Nova Scotia Health and Wellness, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week

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Gambling
Adults / Seniors

Gamblers Anonymous

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of people who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem.

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Gambling
Adults / Seniors

Eskasoni Mental Health

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Eskasoni Mental Health Services (EMHS) provides a wide range of services to the Mi’kmaq people of Eskasoni, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The Tui'kn Residential School Survivor...

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Adults / Seniors / Youth
First Nations, Indigenous

Caregivers Nova Scotia

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Caregivers Nova Scotia provides free programs, services, information, and advocacy for family and friend caregivers. We are dedicated to providing recognition and practical assistance to friends and family giving care.

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Adults / Seniors
Caregiver, Family

211

211
This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

211 is a free, confidential information and referral service that can connect you to thousands of programs and services offered by local community groups, nonprofits and government departments across Nova Scotia, 24/7.

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Adults / Children / Seniors / Youth

Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services - Mental Health Programs and Services

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS) is responsible for administering Non-Public Property (NPP) on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff and for delivering...

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Adults / Seniors
Canadian Forces, RCMP

Veterans Affairs Canada Assitance Service

This program is not administered by Nova Scotia Health Authority. Program Information may be incorrect and/or out of date. Confirm details with the program provider.

Veterans Affairs provide targeted services and benefits to improve well-being including support and services related to your physical and mental health and wellness.The VAC...

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Adults / Seniors
Canadian Forces, RCMP

Mental Health and Addictions Wellness Program

The Wellness Clinic is an ongoing, client-focused program that is based on what the client or group of clients want to work on that day. There is no waitlist or referral...

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Adults

Health Psychology

Health Psychology offers psychological interventions for those with chronic and acute health conditions. The main focus is on the patient's mental and emotional reaction to an illness or their recovery from an illness.

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Adults

Wellness Court

Wellness Court Programs are specialty or problem-solving courts, where a team of professionals helps treat the issues contributing to the individual coming into conflict with...

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Adults

Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Program

Seniors mental health services provide assessment, consultation and treatments to:

  • seniors aged 65 and older for a new onset of mental health challenges
  • individuals of...

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Seniors

Seniors Mental Health Services

Seniors mental health services provide assessment, consultation and treatments to:

- seniors aged 65 and older for a new onset of mental health challenges;
- individuals of...

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Seniors

School Mental Health (SchoolsPlus)

The school mental health clinicians provide individual and group therapy, mental health and addictions education for school staff and consultation services. Clinicians are on...

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Children / Youth

Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinic

The Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinic provides mental health services to Veterans, eligible members of the Canadian Forces (CF), RCMP members and former members, who have...

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Adults / Seniors
Canadian Forces, RCMP

Provincial Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Line

The Provincial Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Line provides crisis intervention for children, youth and adults experiencing a mental health crisis or mental distress.

...

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Adults / Children / Seniors / Youth

First Nations Services

Mental Health clinicians work as part of the first nations health care team in several first nations communities. The Mental Health Clinician provides assessment, diagnosis...

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Adults / Children / Seniors / Youth
First Nations, Indigenous

Community Support Service (Adults)

The Community Support Teams for Adults/Community Supports for Adults supports individuals living with persistent mental illness to develop and maintain a safe, satisfying...

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Adults / Seniors

Adult Community Mental Health and Addictions Services

Community Mental Health and Addictions includes a team of mental health and addictions professionals who provide services on an outpatient basis. The team provides assessment...

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Adults / Seniors

Child and Adolescent Services

Child and Adolescent Services/Child Youth and Family/Child and Adolescent Outpatient Clinical Services provide mental health and addiction services to children and youth...

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Children / Youth

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