Often times taking the first step is the hardest. Choosing a good time to start the conversation is key.

If the individual recently experienced a gambling episode and is expressing regret, that might be a good opportunity to broach the issue with them. Try to talk to them in a caring and understanding way.

If the individual tries to defend their behavior, be prepared to offer examples of their problem (credit card bills, lost job, etc). If they continue to rationalize or deny that they have a problem, end the discussion and try again another time.

Always remember to keep focused on the individual’s behavior, rather than on the individual themselves. This tends to help individuals feel less defensive and more open to hearing another point of view.

  • Tell the individual you care about him/her and you’re concerned about how he/she is acting.
  • Tell the individual exactly what is being done that concerns you.
  • Tell the person how their behavior is affecting other people and be specific.
  • Be clear about what you expect from them and what they can expect from you.
  • After you’ve told the individual what you’ve seen and how you feel, allow them to respond. Listen with an open-mind.
  • Let the individual know you are willing to help, but don’t try to council him/her yourself.
  • Give the individual information, not advice. Encourage them to call the helpline or connect with other resources.