GAMBLING HELP: A gambling help forum at   Charleville  outlined the introduction of online support meetings. (From left) Kim Coleman, Sue Hamlet, Debbie Olsen, Kim Tubb (all from Lifeline) Damon Moody (Charleville RSL), Mayor Annie Liston and Karen Moran (Lifeline) discuss the initiative.
GAMBLING HELP: A gambling help forum at Charleville outlined the introduction of online support meetings. (From left) Kim Coleman, Sue Hamlet, Debbie Olsen, Kim Tubb (all from Lifeline) Damon Moody (Charleville RSL), Mayor Annie Liston and Karen Moran (Lifeline) discuss the initiative. Carly Everitt

Addiction support in the southwest is improved

THE southwest will now have better access to support for gambling addiction, with the roll-out of the online Self Manage- ment and Recovery Training (SMART) meetings.

The Charleville launch was held on Wednesday at the RSL. SMART provides assistance to people seeking help for addictions to gambling, as well as drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, food, etc, by providing motivational tools and techniques.

"We want to show the west that we care and they're important to us so that's why we decided to hold the launch in Charleville,” counsellor and community educator Sue Hamlet said.

"We had the manager of RSL and gaming staff in attendance and we wanted to recognise that in smaller communities these venues are performing a public service being there and gambling is only one aspect.

"They really appreciated that they took the balance perspective and we had great conversation about how to approach concerns with patrons.

"We strongly wanted to send the message that not everyone who gambles has a problem or should hide it, it's only really a problem if it starts to impact your life or relationships.”

Weekly online meetings give participants a chance to phone or Skype in, with Mrs Hamlet saying if participants went in with the confidence that online meetings were just as effective as face to face, it could be successful.

"For people in the southwest who don't have as much access to support services, this gives them the option to call in from anywhere,” she said.

"They can join in on a group session but also have the option of anonymity with a one-on-one counsellor if they prefer, it's just about getting that conversation rolling.

"If you think back a few years ago when Teleheath was rolling out, people were thinking it was the poor version of face-to-face counselling.

"Now research is showing that online methods are just as effective for people.”

If you or someone you know is experience a gambling addiction, contact the national gambling hotline on 1800 858 858.


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