Referring a client into Gambler's Help Services

You may feel uncomfortable about talking to a client about their gambling, however if they do have a problem, they may be relieved to be able to discuss it. If they don't, they're unlikely to be offended by the question.

Many clients will feel reluctant or uncomfortable about calling Gambler's Help services, and many may not know such services exist.

As a health and welfare professional you can encourage clients to make contact with the Gambler's Help service by emphasising that it is free and confidential, and that clients usually do well when contact is established.

Gamblers Help services are connected to mainstream health and welfare services.

3 steps to refer a client into Gambler's Help services

Step 1: Identifying a gambling problem

Health and welfare workers outside of Gambler's Help services are often the first port of call for people seeking help with problem gambling though the client may not be aware that gambling is the problem.

Instead they may be preoccupied with anxiety, depression or stress that may result form problem gambling.

Your key task is to be aware that gambling can be a problem and be prepared to ask about it. 

This can be a simple as asking three questions

  • Do you or a family member gamble on the pokies or online, at the casino or the track? (This question identifies the gambling modes where most people have problems )
  • Is this a problem for you?
  • Would you like to go to a specialist service?

Understanding and recognising the symptoms, impacts and dynamics of problem gambling will equip you to offer support.

  • Find out about the common signs of problem gambling.
  • Problem gambling may be just one factor within a complex array of interpersonal, intrapersonal and health issues experienced by your client.
  • There are a number of common behavioural, emotional, financial and health related signs that may indicate your client has a problem with gambling.

Find out more about identifying a problem in a client.

Step 2: Learn about the Gambler's Help program

Gambler's Help provides telephone and face to face counselling and financial counselling services at around 100 locations across metropolitan and regional Victoria. Services are for people who gamble, as well as their family and friends who are looking for support.

Telephone support

You or your client can call Gamblers Help for free, confidential telephone counselling, information and support on 1800 858 858.

Gambler's Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. .

After an initial consultation, Gambler's Help can also connect you or your client to local Gambler's Help face to face counselling services.

Local Gambler's help services

Contact your local Gambler's Help service agency for face to face counselling, further information and advice.

Contact Gambler's Help

Step 3: Making referrals to Gambler's Help

Consider sitting with your client while they make the call to Gambler's Help or their local Gambler's Help agency if this makes them feel more comfortable and supported.

It is also important to follow up on your referral to see how things went.

If your client requires continued support through your service for other issues, try to work cooperatively with Gambler's Help as much as possible.

Contact Gambler's Help

What if my client refuses a referral to Gambler's Help?

Change seldom happens from just one suggestion. It's more likely that people change when they get messages from a number of sources which is why it important for you to raise the issue with your client. At the very least you will have sown the seeds for change.

If your client cannot be persuaded to attend Gambler's Help services, then your local Gambler's Help providers can still work collaboratively with you and the client. This allows the client to maintain their primary relationship with you, while also receiving a specialist problem gambling service.

Contact your local Gambler's Help service to explore the most appropriate response.

The change process

There are a number of stages of change, so find out more about what stage your client may be at in their journey.

Read about the change process

What is problem gambling counselling?

Problem gambling counselling incorporates a range of face to face services, including:

  • assessment
  • case planning
  • therapeutic interventions
  • practical assistance
  • crisis management
  • case and service management
  • advocacy and coordination
  • referral
  • secondary consultation

Problem gambling counselling is case planned and tailored to your client's individual needs.

Find your local Gambler's Help

Search for a Gambler's Help agency near you.

Fight for you challenge

The Professional Development Centre has a range of training and development opportunities.

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