This book forms part of a range of educational resources developed by the Gambling Impact Society (NSW) Inc. – a totally voluntary, not for profit health promotion charity established in July 2000.
The GIS, as we call ourselves, was established by a group of community members, health and welfare professionals who came together in the Shoalhaven to address the needs of those affected by problem gambling. Many of those who formed the initial working group back in the late 1990’s, and who became (and remain) founding management committee members, are people who have personally been impacted by this problem. As an organisation we bring the lived experience of problem gambling to this work.
This is a “consumer” or “peer” perspective and like many self-help organisations we see our main aim to assist those who have also walked this path. In doing so we also aim to support the services who work with those affected. In addition, we provide a range of community educational opportunities to the general public so as to increase awareness about problem gambling in the community and reduce the “barriers to help” for those who are affected. The field of problem gambling is in many ways similar to tobacco and alcohol in that it relates to the use of legal, government and community sanctioned products known to cause harm.
The GIS recognises that the responsibility to address gambling harm lies not only with the individual, but with families, the community, the gambling industry, our governments and the product designers. Similar to tobacco and alcohol we accept the notion of gambling products (and electronic gaming machines “pokies” in particular) as products with the potential for “dangerous consumption”.
The GIS regards problem gambling as a significant, though often hidden, public health issue. We promote a whole of population based public health approach to address the multi- dimensional aspects of problem gambling.
This includes prevention, protection and health promotion, along with treatment and after care. The aim of this self-help resource is to provide, what we hope, is a range of supportive information and ideas to assist families who may be struggling with the impacts of problem gambling.
The 2010 Productivity Commission’s Report into Gambling specifically identified the need for more self help information to be made available to individuals and family members affected by problem gambling in the community. We hope that this resource will contribute to meeting this need.