CarePlus awarded $120k to establish substance use and mental health gambling disorder program

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Care Plus NJ has been awarded a one-year grant totaling $120,000 from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to establish a substance use and mental health gambling disorder clinician services program in northern New Jersey.

Gambling disorder is a chronic mental health condition with symptoms that result in higher-than-average rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior. According to the National Association of Addiction Professionals, problem gambling has the highest suicide attempt rate (up to 20%) of all addictions.

Through the grant, the Paramus-based pioneer in integrated primary and behavioral health services will provide screening, treatment and case management for individuals with a gambling disorder, including those who may also have a substance use disorder and/or mental illness. Clients enrolled in the program will be offered a 12-week prescriptive treatment program, gambling psychoeducation, and evidence-based care.

In addition to treatment services, CarePlus NJ clinicians will work with individuals to assist with issues that often occur concurrently with gambling disorders such as financial distress, estranged relationships, legal issues, and a need for social services. The program will also address the need for gambling services of individuals with a primary diagnosis of gambling disorder or as a co-occurring substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder.

“The rates of gambling addiction are climbing in our state. A recent Rutgers University study estimates about 13% of New Jersey residents meet requirements for having a gambling problem,” Ann Marie Zihal, senior vice president of Clinical Services, Care Plus NJ said. “More significant is that often individuals with a gambling disorder also present with co-occurring disorders surrounding substance use and/or mental illness, which requires a comprehensive approach to treatment and care. This grant will enable us to expand our addiction recovery services and increase access to treatment to those in need.”