More help for problem gamblers
A funding boost from the Ministry of Health has increased the support for those seeking help for a gambling addiction in Nelson.
Stuart Bruce and Kerri Flood have come on board with Addiction Advice and Assessment Services and will split their hours between Nelson and Blenheim.
‘‘It’s quite exciting, the extra funding means extra people on the ground and we can do a lot more,’’ Bruce said. ‘‘We are now really able to meet the demand.’’
The pair join clinician Matt McMillan, who previously said he was swamped by the demand in the region and was doing the work of two people.
The service is free and confidential and Bruce said they were focused on making sure people knew it existed. The counsellors were able to give people practical support so they could get on with making changes in their lives.
It would also provide education programmes in the community, informing staff and clients from other agencies about problem gambling and how the brain worked with addiction.
‘‘People might not necessarily identify as having a problem, they may just want more information or they might have a family member who is involved and they want to support them.’’
Bruce said part of their work involved helping people to navigate the mental health system.
‘‘If somebody comes in for a gambling issue and they have other issues, which is quite common, such as depression, anxiety or a physical health issue, we can help them navigate that, we are funded to help them do that.’’
Gambling intervention service providers were contracted by the Ministry of Health and specialised in preventing and minimising gambling harm.
Figures from The Problem Gambling Foundation showed $2 billion was lost annually through gambling in New Zealand and two out of every five regular pokie players already had a gambling problem or were more at risk of developing one.
To contact Addiction Advice and Assessment Services in Nelson, phone 03 548 2230 or email email@example.comZ
Stuart Bruce, left, and Matt McMillan problem gambling counsellors.