Innovative Pilot Tackling Gambling Harm in Ballarat

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The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring Ballarat locals experiencing the devastating impacts of gambling harm can get tailored treatment and support services with an innovative new programme being piloted in the region.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne, Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle and Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison launched the pilot, which equips allied health professions with a new way of screening patients to determine the best treatments to get them back on track.

It will increase access to, and training for, practitioners who operate within the mental health, alcohol and other drugs sectors and are treating people vulnerable to gambling harm.

Following feedback from Gambler’s Help service funded through the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the programme has been developed to improve pathways for people seeking treatment for co-existing conditions, such as a mental health issue in addition to gambling harm.

It starts with a simple question by a health practitioner to their client about whether they gamble and progresses through the appropriate pathway for each person from there.

The pilot programme will increase awareness of gambling harm among healthcare professions and remove barriers faced by people seeking help – such as stigma.

The trial uses the latest evidence to improve outcomes for the Ballarat community, with the lessons to inform future programmes across the state.

The training will be led by clinical consultant Dr Jane Oakes and the Foundation’s Principal Clinical Advisor, Tony Clarkson and provided to practitioners at Ballarat Community Health, Child and Family Services and the Salvation Army Health Services.

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