Jim Leingang began working with the Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling as a Certified Problem Gambling Counselor. His passion and interest in helping others make him a perfect fit as ECPG’s new Community Engagement and Advocacy Specialist.
“As a treatment provider, it became clear to me that many people are still unaware that treatment is available,” said Leingang. “I am a firm believer that community education, awareness, and advocacy can be instrumental in reducing the stigma associated with substance use and process disorders such as problem gambling. Problem Gambling related issues impact people from all socio-economic classes and demographics. It is a serious health issue in Washington State and one that needs to be addressed with the same enthusiasm as other public health issues. ”
Among the first efforts Jim is undertaking for ECPG is to help increase the number of qualified providers to treat problem gambling disorders and increase the number of Clinical Supervisors in Washington State.
“I want to be proactive in helping therapists achieve certification without the process being too difficult. I also want to encourage others to explore certification.”
Jim is also passionate about helping ECPG expand services and programs across the Continuum of Care from awareness and prevention to treatment and recovery services. The importance of evidenced-based and culturally-based treatment modalities is another area ECPG hopes to continue to expand.
“I began my work as an ECPG staff member at the Four Directions Conference, which is a wonderful training that offers evidenced-based and culturally-based sessions,” said Leingang. “While ECPG’s conferences are top notch, the series of Responsible Gaming trainings for casino and card room employees throughout the state have also been well received and impactful.”
ECPG plans to launch a new online Casino/Card Room Employee Responsible Gaming Training during Problem Gambling Awareness Month in March 2017. ECPG also plans to continue to work in partnership with other organizations, agencies, and individuals, to help create more opportunities for recovery services. This is an area that is exciting to Jim in his role.
“I have the chance to be on the cutting edge of improving care across the continuum,” said Leingang. “From Prevention to Recovery Maintenance, going out and seeking new partners and creating coalitions across the states with other advocates for recovery is very fulfilling and rewarding. I am also proud of the fact that ECPG is addressing new trends such as problem gaming and Internet use disorders. ECPG is a true leader in the field, across the nation, and here in Washington.”
Washington is and always has been home for Jim, and while he says “You cannot beat a beautiful day in Washington State,” he and his wife and daughters also like to travel. Whether at home or on the Hawaiian Islands, their life is busy and full.
“My wife and I were married in Hawaii in 2013 and we like to visit the islands whenever we can,” said Leingang. “At home, I enjoy cooking and gardening, and I am a soccer nut. I played for most of my young life. I have coached and enjoying watching soccer as well.” His daughters enjoy music and leadership programs in school.
“We added a new member to our family in September,” said Leingang. “Bringing a 17-year-old foster child into our home means we now have two 17-year-old daughters.”
Whether at work or at home, Jim is surrounded by hard-working and fun-loving family.
“Working with the staff at ECPG is fantastic,” said Leingang. “The amount of quality work this small staff is able to achieve is amazing. I am proud of the good work that each of my co-workers consistently provide. It feels like family. How often can you actually say that about your co-workers?”
Welcome to the ECPG Family, Jim!