Anglicare urging the Gouburn community to seek the support they need to overcome problem gambling.
The call comes during GambleAware Week, which runs from October 19 to 25.
Anglicare's financial counselling service seeks to reduce the negative impact of problem gambling by offering free ongoing support to people, as well as their family members and friends who are also impacted. The program offers counselling face-to-face or via phone and includes couples and families.
Over the past few months, Anglicare's regional manager, Toni Reay, and her team of gambling counselling practitioners have provided financial counselling support to over 50 people across the South East region of NSW which includes Goulburn-Mulwaree, Bega Valley, Bombala, Eurobodalla, Boorowa, Harden, Young, Cooma Monaro, Snowy River, Upper Lachlan, Yass Valley and Queanbeyan.
"Problem gambling impacts so many areas of a person's life, not just their finances. It affects relationships, housing, employment, and mental and physical health," Ms Reay said.
"We're bracing for increased demand as people face hardships from the fallout of COVID-19 and reductions in government supports. We encourage people to seek help early before their situation deteriorates, and for problem gamblers, overcoming addiction is usually about a 12 month journey."
Anglicare says national statistics show there are an estimated 56,000 people engaged in problem gambling, which has a flow on effect to about 336,000 people.
"We need more community awareness, education and understanding about the effects of problem gambling and the effects this addiction can have, not just on the problem gambler but on their families and other meaningful relationships," Ms Reay said.
"Poker machine gambling is the form of gambling that leads to the highest incidences of addiction. So if we could reach out and assist one person affected by problem gambling, then that is one person whose life will be significantly improved, and statistics show this will flow on to improve the lives of those around them."
Anglicare's service is funded by the state government through the Office of Responsible Gambling and provides free-of-charge counselling with referrals to other services for specialised treatment including mental health, medical and legal services. People can self-refer, be referred by the Gambling Help line, service providers, gaming establishments, family, friends or legal services.
- For more information about Anglicare's financial counselling services, visit www.anglicare.com.au or call 4823 4000.
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