A Helpline Call That “Literally Saved My Life”

A Helpline Call That “Literally Saved My Life”

Posted by Ohio for Responsible Gambling.

Cindy had been gambling for about three years before she began to not recognize herself anymore.

She was borrowing money, sometimes without asking. “I had hurt people, and I’m not that kind of person,” she said. 

And she was struggling with her mental health. “I didn’t want to continue hurting others and I didn’t want to hurt myself,” she said. “I was at that point too.”

Cindy knew she needed a change. So, she called the Problem Gambling Helpline. 

Cindy didn’t know what to expect when she called. But then she spoke to a trained specialist, who listened with no judgment and put her in touch with the resources she needed. They made her feel like she wasn’t facing her issues by herself. 

“It was such a warm feeling,” Cindy said. “I felt totally that I was not alone, that there were people out there to support me, to listen to me.”

Cindy has now been in recovery from gambling for more than three years. And with Suicide Prevention Awareness Month taking place in September, she is encouraging other Ohioans to “Make The Call” as part of a new campaign to promote the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline, which includes a PSA video and a toolkit of community resources. 

Individuals who experience problem gambling have a higher suicide rate than any other group of people with addictions. But it’s ok to ask for help, and that help is available from both the new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and the Problem Gambling Helpline. 

“Making that phone call literally saved my life,” Cindy said. “And now I can put it all in the past. I have a vision to look forward to my future.”

Hear Cindy’s story by watching the short video below:

For free resources and information on problem gambling, visit BeforeYouBet.org. There, you can take the two-minute quiz to gauge your risk and find tips for responsible gambling. 

If you are in crisis or emotional distress, dial the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. For more information on the lifeline or to learn about more resources in Ohio, visit mha.ohio.gov. 

And remember that confidential support is always available by calling the free Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or texting 4HOPE to 741741. If you have questions about your gambling habits or those of someone you care about, make the call today.  

Author: Gloria Fleming