First-hand experience key in NSW online gambling harm prevention

Australia’s The Gambling Impact Society has launched its new ‘lived experience project,’ which strives to aid communities develop a deeper understanding of the harms linked to online gambling, through hearing stories first-hand from individuals who have experienced such issues.

Funded by the New South Wales Office of Responsible Gambling, the project is calling for people across the state who have personal experience of the topic at hand to come forward and share their story.

The program is aiming to harness real life experiences “as a powerful tool in helping people understand the impact problem gambling can have”.

Peer educators would be required to deliver one hour community education sessions throughout New South Wales regional centres, with those in attendance including community members, welfare services, community groups, health services and corporate organisations.

Natalie Wright, director of the Office of Responsible Gambling, commented: “We hope to build community awareness of the harm that can be experienced by some people from online gambling through this project, and encourage those struggling to seek help.”

The lived experience project is aiming to work towards spreading awareness about problem gambling, whilst also promoting self-help and professional support that’s available to those affected.

In a media release it states that “while helping individuals who may be affected by gambling harm, community and welfare services can also benefit from increased understanding of problem gambling”.

This forms part of the NSW government’s record AU$25m funding commitment to help tackle problem gambling harm in communities throughout the region.

Katie Roberts, executive officer of GIS, added: “It’s common for people at risk of gambling harm to relate easily to others who have experienced what they are going through and overcome their problem.

“Starting a conversation can help de-stigmatise the subject of problem gambling and encourage people who are suffering in silence to reach out for help.”