Campaign urges problem gamblers to seek early help

A NEW advertising campaign aims to encourage Coffs Harbour problem gamblers to seek help early, before their situation becomes acute.

Gambling Help counsellor Jo Gal of Gambling Help North Coast said that almost half of problem gamblers wait two to 10 years before getting the help they need, when help is freely available.

"Many clients wrongly feel a sense of shame because they think that gambling is something they should be able to control," Jo said.

"By the time they seek help they have often suffered in silence for a long time, as their financial situation and relationships deteriorate.

"However, as soon as clients summon the courage and come to see us, they feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from their shoulders because they've made their first step on the path to recovery. That is why it is so important that this new advertising campaign is letting people know that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness."

Fewer than one in five people whose lives are impacted by gambling problems ever seek help, with research suggesting that people with gambling problems are often judged more harshly by their community than those with drug or alcohol problems.

For free and confidential support call Gambling Help on 6651 4093 or 1800 858 858; or visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au.

Free legal assistance and financial counselling is also available by calling Gambling Help on 1800 858 858.



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