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Local help for gambling addiction

Johnson County Mental Health Center officially launched its own gambling treatment program in September, becoming the only community mental health center in the area to offer these services. The program includes treatment for problem gaming or gambling, for such things as casinos, bingo and online poker.

In 2018, Kansas Problem Gambling Services reported that of the 112 individuals enrolled in problem gambling treatment across the state, 57% revealed psychological issues and 20% noted thoughts of suicide. 54% of those in treatment also had a substance abuse disorder, anxiety disorder or affective disorder; 25% displayed a personality disorder.

“JCMHC’s program will be unique in its ability to bring together treatments for a mental health challenge, a substance abuse issue and problem gambling, all in the same place. Private practices may only treat one at a time, causing individuals to have to seek treatment in multiple places,” said Keith Davenport, communications specialist for JCMHC.

Pathological gambling is also under-treated in Kansas; of the approximately 1-2% of the population affected by problem gambling, 2-6% would be expected to seek treatment each year (378-1134), but the current average is only 141 people. Low treatment-seeking numbers are reflective of both the stigma associated with problem gambling and the need for more treatment opportunities.

The program is credentialed by Beacon Health and Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services. The program is funded by the Problem Gambling Grant of Kansas and open to any qualifying JCMHC client at no cost. To find out more about the program, please call JCMHC customer service at 913-826-4200.

Anyone seeking to begin services at JCMHC can take advantage of the Open Access Walk-In Clinics which start at 9 a.m. each day Monday – Friday. Individuals will either be connected to care at JCMHC or to the most appropriate community partner.

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