Award recipients announced for statewide gambling issues art competition

Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services recently announced the award recipients of “Are You Really Winning?,” an art competition with the goal of bringing attention toward problem gambling.

The contest called for submissions from resident high school students and adults across Illinois. On Thursday, June 6, awards were presented at the Illinois Council on Problem Gambling conference in Bolingbrook.

IDHS's Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (SUPR) works with providers to expand outreach and to raise awareness about the harms associated with gambling. The art competition program is part of the new “Are You Really Winning?” campaign.

Adrienne McConkie of Sycamore with her painting, titled “Finding Help” is one of the “Are You Really Winning?” art competition winners. Courtesy of Illinois Department of Human Services

The juried art program aims to raise awareness about gambling-related issues and to offer hope to those who are struggling. The winning submissions will be showcased across the state. ​

The award recipients are:

• Adrienne McConkie of Sycamore for the painting, titled “Finding Help”

• Pamela Penney of Oak Park for the textile installation, titled “Send Help”

• Mackenzie Hulke of Normal for the photograph, titled “Addiction”

“People who struggle with gambling disorder often hide their behavior from family members and friends. We want you to know that we will stand by you, that there is hope, and that recovery is possible if you choose,” said Dulce M. Quintero, secretary designate of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Mackenzie Hulke of Normal with her photograph, titled “Addiction” is one of the winners of the “Are You Really Winning?” art competition. Courtesy of Illinois Department of Human Services

According to research by Health Resources in Action (HRiA), 4%, or nearly 400,000, of adults in Illinois have a gambling disorder, and another 7%, or 700,000, are at risk of developing one. Illinois is now the second largest state in terms of total calls/texts/chats to the 1-800-GAMBLER helpline.

To meet the needs of those struggling with gambling disorder, SUPR has focused on training more than 679 clinicians in the past four years, to provide gambling disorder treatment services in Illinois. SUPR has done this through free webinars and on-demand training for counselors focused on gambling disorder, a 30-hour gambling counselor certification training, a two-day Summit on Problem Gambling, as well as a virtual introduction to the Eisenberg Disordered Gambling Emphasized SBIRT (EDGE SBIRT) screening tool that is available to all.

If gambling has become a problem for you or someone you know, call 1-800-GAMBLER. Help is also available through the website and by texting GAMB to 833234.

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