Since its opening in 1993, the mission of the "Jeu : Aide et Référence" helpline has been to serve the population of Québec with gambling-related issues by listening, providing information and offering referrals to treatment providers.
Accessible at all times, Jeu : Aide et Référence receives more than 10,000 calls per year, mostly from people who are concerned about their gambling habits and are seeking help and referrals. An initial evaluation of the services offered by Jeu : aide et référence revealed that the clients are satisfied with the helpline's services, availability and wide accessibility. The study also showed that the specialists answering the calls are highly skilled in establishing warm contact with the clients, are empathetic and provide services without appearing judgemental.
The clients are satisfied with the helpline's services, availability and wide accessibility.
Furthermore, the evaluation also showed that certain changes could be made to improve the service. Indeed, wait times for clients put on hold could be reduced by computerizing the resource database used by the helpline specialists to find information for the client. Updating this database annually would ensure the validity of the information provided.
In addition, as treatment centres and gamblers do not appear to be very familiar with the mission of Jeu : aide et référence, promotional campaigns aimed at increasing awareness of this mission would allow clients to have more realistic expectations when calling the helpline.
Robert Ladouceur, Université Laval
Call for proposals
Deposit of the research report: November 2010