Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 11.29.06 AMA new state-wide gambling campaign was launched this week coordinated by Gambling Help’s organisation Gambling Hangover and funded by the New South Wales Government’s Responsible Gambling Fund. The ad campaign titled ‘You’re Stronger Than You Think’, frames help-seeking as a sign of strength rather than a weakness and stresses the importance of seeking help early. Sondra Kalnins, team leader at Inner City Gambling Help at BaptistCare Hopestreet told us, “the longer problem gamblers wait before seeking help, the more damage occurs.” Kalnins believes that problem gamblers often don’t seek help because they don’t know it’s available and they are trying to control it themselves. “Meanwhile”, Kandris reveals, “their relationships are falling to pieces, finances are getting worse and their jobs are affected. A lot of damage is taking place.” Research suggests that only 1/5 people with a gambling problem ever seek help. Of those, 40% are waiting 2-10 years. The most troubling group is males between the age of 25-43 as this demographic seems to be developing problems but not accessing support. Gambling Hangover’s ‘You’re Stronger Than You Think’ campaign targets this middle-age male demographic and tries to show that it is actually a sign of strength to ask for help and allow someone else to manage your finances.

Kalnins says, “once gambling becomes a problem, there is no way to recoup losses and get ahead unless you address the problem.”  She emphasises the need to make problem gamblers aware that there is a free help service available.

“Gambling is an industry”, she said. “We are buying an entertainment product.” And because of that, people are likely to lose more. And not just their life savings.

To put an end to the feelings of shame, exhaustion, remorse or isolation that are typical of a ‘gambling hangovers’ simply call the Gambling Help’s free help service on 1800 858 858, or visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au.

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