Nationwide counselling service launched to help people experiencing harmful gambling
A new support service to assist people dealing with harmful gambling was launched by Gambling Awareness Trust.
The ‘National Problem Gambling Support Service’ is a collaboration between Gambling Awareness Trust and the Family Resource Centre National Forum (FRCNF), which will see 20 Family Resource Centres (FRCs) across the country provide professional and confidential counselling services to those experiencing harmful gambling and their families.
Research commissioned by Gambling Awareness Trust found that there are an estimated 55,000 problem gamblers in Ireland. It also outlined the need for a national service providing gambling treatments, where clinics are geographically spread to ensure ease of access for people seeking support with harmful gambling.
Speaking at the launch, Pam Bergin, Executive Director of Gambling Awareness Trust, said: “Harmful gambling can have serious consequences for people’s mental health, their employment and relationships. International research reports that for every single person identified with a ‘gambling disorder’, up to six other people are impacted significantly. Given the estimated prevalence of 55,000 problem gamblers in Ireland this presents a significant number of individuals affected in Irish society, and highlights the need for increased services and supports in this area.
“The National Problem Gambling Support Service will provide vital community-based support to help those experiencing harmful gambling and their affected others. Through the FRCs, Gambling Awareness Trust wants to end the stigma attached to problem gambling by sending a strong message to those affected that professional and confidential support is available.”
Also commenting today, Fergal Landy, CEO Family Resource Centre National Forum, said: “The Family Resource Centre National Forum is delighted to collaborate with Gambling Awareness Trust to contribute to the development of a National Problem Gambling Support Service for those experiencing harmful gambling and their families.
“Given the unique position of Family Resource Centres within communities through Ireland, it is welcome that Gambling Awareness Trust have recognised our capacity to deliver a consistent, high quality, national service, to respond to the very immediate need in this important and underserved area of work. The ability of local Family Resource Centres to offer a therapeutic response through counselling integrated with a community development approach to family support is to fore in how this service will be implemented.”
Counselling staff with experience in dealing with gambling addiction have been appointed in each of the participating FRCs. It is expected that the service will run for an initial three-year period, with a project evaluation to follow at the end of the final year. The service will be offered at affordable rates based on each person’s ability to pay.
The Gambling Awareness Trust is encouraging people who would like to access the service to visit their website: www.gamblingcare.ie or local Family Resource Centre website for more information.