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State health department's symposium to assist problem gambling community

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will host a problem gambling symposium on Thursday, March 5, 2020. (WWMT/MGN Online)

Representatives of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, MDHHS, announced Tuesday that the 12th annual Problem Gambling Symposium would be held in Novi.

In a written statement, they said the event would be held in honor of Problem Gambling Awareness Month and would provide opportunities for problem gamblers to receive assistance and advice.

The statement said the Suburban Collection Showplace was expected to host the event on Thursday, March 5, 2020. The symposium would be open to professionals, recovering problem gamblers and anyone else interested in learning more about problem gambling.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS, said, “Gambling can sometimes negatively impact a person’s life, or the lives of their friends and family. This symposium is an opportunity to share treatment and recovery best practices and learn from others who have experienced problem gambling.”

Resources provided at the symposium were expected to include professional training, recovery stories and community resource information. Attendees would also be able to experience a Gamblers' Anonymous meeting, as well as learn about youth gambling and programs for treatment and prevention.

MDHHS representatives said Spencer Christian, former Good Morning America team member and forecaster for San Francisco's ABC7 News, would be the keynote speaker. Christian struggled with problem gambling for nearly 30 years and was expected to share his story of recovery.

MDHHS representatives shared some recommendations ahead of the symposium, including:

  • Make gambling a social activity – don't gamble alone.
  • Don't wager more than you can afford to lose. Establish spending limits and stick to them.
  • Don't view gambling as a way to make money. Gambling should not be used to supplement income and holiday spending.
  • If you find that you’re gambling to escape stress, consider an alternative form of entertainment such as a movie, dinner or sporting event.
  • Call the 24-hour Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline at 800-270-7117 for immediate professional and resource information.

Anyone interested in the symposium was encouraged to register online for $35 per ticket.