The adaptation to COVID-19 by problem gambling and mental health treatment providers in Canada: a brief report.
Background: During the Covid-19 pandemic, online gambling venues remained accessible while treatment services were met with constraints. Mental health service providers needed to adapt quickly to continue supporting clients. This exploratory study examined the experiences of problem gambling counsellors and other treatment professionals who worked throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of (1) how they were impacted by the pandemic, (2) about how they adapted to the pandemic, and (3) their training needs in order to be better prepared for future pandemics. Method: Counsellors in Canada were surveyed using closedand open-ended questions. The study was conducted in two waves, one in May to July 2021 in the middle of the pandemic, and the second from April to June 2022 as many public health restrictions were being removed and the casinos were being reopened. Results: The results indicated increases in counsellor distress during the pandemic. In addition, the counsellors also reported increased stress in their clients. The participants reported a shift towards phone and online treatment during the pandemic but also expressed a need for additional training on remote counselling methods. The counsellors reported concerns over technological issues, privacy issues and problems with keeping clients engaged. There were also concerns regarding populations who do may not have access to technology such as homeless people and seniors. Conclusions: There is a need for research to define best practices for remote methods of counselling.
Journal/Conference/Book titleJournal of Gambling Issues