Costello encourages speaking up on gambling harm

The Reverend Tim Costello was keynote speaker at a Mornington community forum recently to discuss, “Is gambling harm our blind-spot?”

More than 60 people, including the mayor and councillors of Mornington Peninsula Shire, gathered at the Peninsula Community Theatre in late May, to raise awareness of this often hidden harm, and hear about the impacts of gambling at an individual and community level.

Other speakers included Jeremy Forbes, president and co-founder of Hope Assistance Local Tradies (HALT) and Sam Hearn, past mayor of Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Talking about gambling harm will help overcome the taboo shrouding this serious community issue.

Connect Health & Community CEO, Amanda Murphy, said that the more the community understands and talks about gambling harm, the more we can help break down the shame and stigma that too often stops people from seeking support.

“The taboo preventing us from talking about gambling harm and its impact on the lives of those who experience it must be overcome. Only then can we have honest conversations about the suffering many face and work as a community to help stop it,” she said.

“Gambler’s Help Southern counsellors understand that often the hardest part is just feeling comfortable to start the conversation about the harm we are experiencing from gambling, and that’s why we are here to help,” she said.

The forum also featured a presentation by local Peninsula resident, and lived experience speaker, Anna Bardsley, who shared her own personal story.

Attendees were also treated to a performance by the Three Sides of the Coin project from Link Health who performed a scene about gambling harm and recovery, by people with first-hand experience.

The forum was held in partnership between Gambler’s Help Southern, Peninsula Voice, Mornington Peninsula Shire and SHARC (Self Help Addiction Resource Centre) in a move to encourage others to start these important conversations.  

Gambler’s Help Southern is a program of Connect Health & Community and provides free, confidential support to those affected by gambling harm.  For more information call 03) 9575 5353 or visit www.gamblershelpsouthern.org.au

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