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7 February, 2019
Gambler’s Help Southern, a program of Connect Health & Community, is trialing Australia’s first video counselling service in an effort to make assistance for problem gambling accessible to more vulnerable Australians.
Connect Health & Community CEO, Amanda Murphy, said the new service is aimed at extending support to a younger demographic at risk of gambling harm who may be either unable or unwilling to utilise existing support mechanisms.
“This trial is an opportunity for those who may be unable to physically attend one-on-one counselling sessions to still have the face-to-face support that is often so important in helping people overcome their gambling challenges,” Ms Murphy said.
“Video counselling is an effective, secure and convenient way to get personal help from our highly qualified counsellors in a strictly confidential environment.”
“By eliminating the geographic boundaries that prevent someone from seeking help with gambling issues we hope we can prevent crisis situations and increase the support within our community,” she said.
Ms Murphy said research indicated a need for the service, with families and younger people anticipated to be most likely to utilise the services.
“Often family demands or the stigma of being seen attending counselling sessions will prevent young people from seeking the face-to-face help that can make a real difference. Under the trial, our counsellors can meet and engage with clients in a manner that provides the all benefits of personal meetings without the restrictions they impose,” she said.
Ms Murphy said the electronic nature of the service said people in Bentleigh or Frankston could utilise the service as easily as someone needing assistance in Warrnambool or Lakes Entrance.
“This opportunity for gambling help is unique not only to Victoria, but the entire country. We hope the use of this video technology will breakdown the boundaries and make all the difference in the life of a person struggling with their gambling issues,” she said.
Gambler’s Help Southern’s free video counselling trial will run each Friday between 9am – 5pm until 26 April, 2019.
To use the service, people will need a computer or smart phone with internet access and the ability to sign up for a skype account.
Anyone concerned about their gambling, or that of a loved one, who would like to use the service should call 03) 9575 5353.
Gambler’s Help Southern is Victoria’s largest provider of free face-to-face, phone and text support to people who are concerned about their gambling or that of a loved one.
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