Problem Gambling Peer Support Specialist: Is It Right for You?

Problem Gambling Peer Support Specialist: Is It Right for You?

What is a Peer Support Specialist?

The Nevada Certification Board describes Peer Support Specialists as “individuals with lived experience in recovery from substance use, problem gambling, mental health, and/or other/co-occurring challenges. They use their recovery experience to provide support and hope to individuals working through their own recovery.” Becoming a Certified PRSS through the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) not only protects the public but helps provide a higher level of care by providing uniform standards and a process for initial testing of competency and maintaining current knowledge and skills. Just as Problem Gambling Certification and Licensure provides counselors with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to  enable them to counsel problem gamblers and provide assessment and evaluation of persons as problem gamblers, certification as a PRSS provides knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to provide peer recovery services. Additional facts about PRSS, the training required, and the process for obtaining certification can be found in the IC&RC Certified Peer Fact Sheet and the IC&RC Nevada Behavioral Health Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist Flow Chart.

The CASAT OnDemand blog post from May 29, 2019, Peer Recovery Support Workers: The Research Says “Yes!”, covers the history and research supporting peer recovery support specialists, foundational principles of the movement, activities peer recovery specialists engage in, and the Core Competencies that peer recovery support workers must develop for each category. A variety of national and Nevada resources are provided, including links to the Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale (BRSS TACS) website, International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC), and  Nevada Certification Board (NCB). Hopefully that blog post sparked some interest in Peer Recovery & Support Specialist (PRSS) Certification and prompted some to follow through and explore further. If not, perhaps the information and resources provided here will serve as motivation to explore the possibility, particularly for those in recovery from gambling disorder who are may be considering the benefits to themselves and others of PRSS certification.

PRSS Resources

Behavioral health professionals have access to a variety of recovery support tools and resources through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS), which advances effective recovery supports and services for people with mental or substance use disorders and their families. The Peer web page for the BRSS TACS website provides information and resources for both peer workers and those who supervise them:

Specific Peer Support Resources include:

Access video trainings on peer support services, youth and young adults, and other topics.

For behavioral health professionals who supervise peer workers, a number of important resources related to supervision can be found on the Peers webpage.

CASAT OnDemand Blog Posts Related to Gambling Disorder:

A Beginner’s Guide to Gambling and Opioid Use Disorder for Behavioral Health Providers

Gambling Disorder: An Important Issue for Military Veterans

Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2020: A Toolkit and Tips for Behavioral Health Professionals

What Are the Odds Your Mental Health Client in Nevada Has a Gambling Problem? Or: Pathways to Gambling Disorder: Why Screening and Assessment of All Behavioral Health Clients is So Important

CASAT OnDemand blog posts related to Peer Recovery Support Specialists:

Peer Recovery Support Workers: The Research Says “Yes!”

Training for Peer Recovery Support Specialist Certification and Problem Gambling

Standing Training Opportunities – Nevada Certification Board

  • Initial Core PRSS Training – The below courses are available and will meet the initial 46-hour training requirement for certification
    Online, Self-Paced: Peer Support Specialist 101 – Peer support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility and mutual agreement of what is helpful. Individuals who have common life experiences with the people they are serving deliver peer support services. By sharing their experiences, peers bring hope to people in recovery and promote a sense of belonging within the community. The services often provided by peers are multi-faceted and include, but are not limited to: individual advocacy, education, development of natural supports, support of work or other meaningful activity of the individual’s choosing, crisis management support, and specific skills training. This 46-hour self-paced course is designed provide a foundation for providing peer support services. Please Note: completion of this course does not mean you are certified as a Peer Recovery and Support Specialist (PRSS) in the state of Nevada. This course is designed to meet the educational requirements in order to apply to become a certified PRSS through the Nevada Behavioral Health Association (NBHA), an affiliate member board of the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).

CASAT Training Online Courses and Webinars

  • Problem Gambling 101 for Peer Support Specialists – Webinar
    July 24, 2020 – Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm (PST)
    Presenter: Bea Aikens, Founder and CEO of Lanie’s Hope
    This webinar will include an overview of the Peer Support Specialist’s role as well as Nevada specific information about problem gambling and peer support specialists in Nevada. For information and registration contact CASAT Training.
  • The Hidden Addiction: Treatment Approaches for Gambling Disorder – Webinar
    September 11, 2020 – Time: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
    Presenters: Shane Karus, PhD, Rory Reid, PhD
    This workshop is available mental health and behavioral health interns and professionals in Nevada.  The workshop will focus on fostering clinical skills (Assessment, psychotherapy) for the treatment of gambling disorder. The workshop will feature the most up-to-date research and evidence-base for addressing this community need. This event was made possible by a grant by the American Psychological Association and a collaboration with The Partnership for Research, Assessment, Counseling, Therapy, and Innovative Clinical Education Aka The PRACTICE, a UNLV Community Mental Health Training Clinic and CASAT/UNR. For information and registration contact CASAT Training.
  • Signs and Symptoms of Substance Use, Gambling and Mental Health Issues – Recovery Friendly Workplace Training – Online Video
    Presenter: Mark Disselkoen, MSSW, LCSW, LCADC
    Signs and Symptoms of Substance Use, Gambling and Mental Health Issues: Provide participants with an understanding of issues related to substance use, gambling and mental illness. Emphasis should be on identifying signs and symptoms of substance use, problematic substance use, gambling and mental illness and how these symptoms can interact with one another. Additionally, strategies should be discussed regarding how to effectively engage an employee to seek help when these issues are negatively impacting work performance. For information and registration contact CASAT Training.
  • Teen Addiction: Gambling, Drugs, and Mental Health – Online Video
    Presenter: Denise Quirk, M.A. Denise Everett, MFT
    Underage gambling generally presents as dually-addicted, multiple-diagnoses, with issues ranging from depression or anger to getting caught with alcohol or cigarettes. This webinar will address “gamers and texters” along with ATOD and mentally ill youth, and will address prevention and wrap-around service suggestions for behavioral health professionals encountering the issues affecting teens in their practices and agencies. For information and registration contact CASAT Training.

Peers and Gambling References

Niemczewska, A., & Graham, F. (2020). Gambling related harms–intensive mentoring from mentors with lived experience. Perspectives in Public Health, 140(1), 14-15.

This paper describes the establishment of a peer support model that included referrals to specialized one-on-one mentoring to reduce gambling related harms in London, UK that resulted in training of 112 frontline staff to assess and refer clients. The system, begun in 2013 has resulted in 78% of clients now coming through those referral sources.

Dinshaw, F. M., Mooney, E., Pietropaolo, V., & Turner, N. (2017). Exploring How Immigrant and Ethnocultural Populations in Southern Ontario Seek Help for Gambling Problems.

Based on the fact that members of ethnocultural communities in Canada are underrepresented in treatment programs and services, this study sought to “identify the challenges, supports, culturally specific inducements, and culturally specific inhibitors to gambling” and their influence on help-seeking behaviors. Ten service providers interviewed the population sample with results showing that problem gambling and treatment seeking were influenced by presence or lack of gambling facilities, cultural beliefs about luck, length of residence in Canada, gender role expectations, and level of knowledge of gambling as an addictive disorders. Barriers to treatment revealed were shame, stigma, denial, lack of knowledge of gambling as addiction, cultural concepts of counselling, family expectations, language barriers; immigration status concerns, and location of treatment facilities.

Håkansson, A., & Ford, M. (2019). The general Population’s view on where to seek treatment for gambling disorder – a general population survey. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 12, 1137-1146. doi:10.2147/prbm.s226982

This study explored the low degree of treatment seeking behavior of those with gambling disorder through a cross-sectional general population in Sweden asking where “one would hypothetically advise a friend to seek help for gambling addiction” with the choices being professional help or peer support. The study compare individual characteristics in problem gamblers and non-problem gamblers. The results were that fifty percent would recommend peer support help for gambling, with those preferring professional treatment choosing to recommend primary care (22%) or psychiatry/addiction psychiatry (18%).

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