Overcoming stigma key to overcoming gambling addiction

As part of Gambling Harm Awareness Week, we’re joining the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation in calling on the community to assist in breaking down the stigma associated with gambling addiction, which causes many people to feel too embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help.

This week is the ideal time to start a conversation with family, friends, neighbours and others about the negative effects of gambling, share ideas to prevent gambling harm, and find ways to support people who experience harm as a result of their own or someone else’s gambling.

Continuing the theme TALK.SHARE.SUPPORT. for a third year, the aim of Gambling Harm Awareness Week is to create community awareness and understanding about the issue, especially through stories of lived experience, and to make it okay for those affected to reach out.

‘People who experience gambling harm are not only stigmatised by community attitudes, but often by their own negative thoughts,’ said Penny Christie, Community Engagement Officer with EACH Gambler’s Help Eastern.

‘Low self-esteem and feelings of failure are magnified and perpetuated through societal judgements about character flaws that are inaccurately assigned to the person who experiences gambling harm, and the language used to describe them.

‘Overcoming this stigma is critical to recovery.’

A new series of videos created by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, with the expertise of University of Melbourne neuroscientist Dr Jared Cooney Horvath, explain how gambling affects the way the brain functions and, importantly, how an addiction can be reversed.

‘The videos cover why some people become addicted to gambling – for example, products like pokies and roulette are designed to trick a person’s brain so that they feel like they’re winning even when they’re not – and what they can do to overcome the addiction.

‘The good news is that it is never too late to retrain the brain, which changes constantly as we learn and take in new experiences. Our counsellors have the expertise to successfully guide people through this challenging process,’ Penny said.

For more information about how gambling affects the brain and to watch the full series of videos, visit gamblershelp.com.au.

Local Online Gambling Harm Awareness Week Events:

Online Workshop for Community Professionals – Elder Abuse & Gambling Harm

Supporting Schools in a Pandemic

Need support?

Anyone in the Eastern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne who is negatively affected by their own or someone else’s gambling is encouraged to contact us on 1300 131 973 or the 24/7 Gambler’s Help line on 1800 858 858 for free, confidential advice, support and referral.

View Our Gambler’s Help Eastern Service

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