More help for prob­lem gam­blers

The Leader (Nelson) - - YOUR HEALTH -

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 aodhlp@gmail.comZ

MARTIN DE RUYTER/STUFF

Stuart Bruce, left, and Matt McMil­lan prob­lem gam­bling coun­sel­lors.

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