Gambling Recovery

From 2010 to 2011 I was part of a working group with the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AHMRC) to develop resources to develop Gambling and Aboriginal People (GAP) resource kit.  This was during my tenure managing a problem gambling program for nine years with the organisation I was working with at the time.

I identified a gap in services in regard to gambling and financial stress and the need for financial literacy programs and was instrumental in gaining funding and developing a program called ‘In charge of My Money’. The Financial Literacy program was launched in 2011 and received a Highly Commended MoneySmart Week Award (NSW) in 2013 for the In Charge of My Money program.

In awarding the MoneySmart Week Award in 2013 the judges said, “This excellent program reaches out to vulnerable people who are in real need and provides them with excellent financial literacy information and support. This direct support is essential for people who may be struggling with a range of issues such as drug and alcohol addiction”.

Financial Literacy in the Problem Gambling space

The workshop covers both research and experience in presenting financial literacy to gamblers in rehabs, mental health units and specific community groups such as domestic violence groups and the benefits of incorporating financial literacy in the problem gambling counselling space. The benefits of Financial Literacy were supported by residents in rehabs who shared quite openly about their experience when accessing the financial literacy ‘In Charge of My Money’ program and how it helped them to plan a budget and strategies on how to repair any financial damage that was caused due to their past addiction. There was a lot of discussion around their cross addiction with substance abuse and gambling (and/or other problematic spending behaviours).  It was also identified that their substance abuse often led to their gambling and without any substances they never had the desire to gamble. This is supported by recent studies published by the Vic Gambling Foundation entitled ‘Practice Guidelines for cross-sector collaboration’ and will be covered in the workshop.

During the talk we will also look at two exercises of the program entitled ‘your relationship with money’ and ‘spending leaks’ that could/can be used when counselling gamblers.

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