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Building on the public health approach

Shane Lucas

On 1 July, the Foundation turned 10 years old. We will mark this milestone later in the year with an event that acknowledges the work we and our many partner organisations have undertaken to prevent and reduce gambling harm across the Victorian community.

Since we opened our doors in 2012, the Foundation has evolved its thinking and transformed the way we operate. Informed by the findings of our internationally recognised research program, we employ a public health approach to gambling harm and embrace a collaborative approach to our work.

We listen to, and value the knowledge, expertise and experience of our partners and stakeholders, and seek to elevate the voices of people with lived experience of gambling harm, to learn from them and integrate their views into our work.

…we embrace a collaborative approach to our work.

And while the pandemic is not yet over, the lifting of restrictions has enabled the Foundation and its many partners to again meet in person and hold cautious, COVID-safe events.

In May, the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, the Hon Melissa Horne, launched our much-anticipated Reset app at a stakeholder event in Richmond. Developed by the Foundation following research conducted by Deakin University, the interactive self-help app uses cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing techniques to support people struggling with gambling.

The free app has been clinically tested for use as an alternative to or alongside traditional in-person counselling services. It offers people insight into why they gamble and provides strategies for tracking and managing gambling behaviours. Users set their own goals and work through a range of modules and activities at their own pace.

… the interactive self-help app uses cognitive behavioural therapy …

I attended a celebration in Ballarat in June to acknowledge the team behind the Foundation-funded ‘All-in’ prevention project which has led to the creation of some fantastic resources for the local community. The project was led by Ballarat Community Health but brought together a range of community groups and service providers in the health and well-being sectors.

I was also delighted to present the Love the Game Community Sporting Club of the Year award to Footscray Hockey Club at the annual Victorian Sport Awards hosted by Vicsport in the Melbourne Park precinct. The Love the Game award recognises a community sporting club, team or organisation that has actively encouraged and supported participation in sport and active recreation, and helped break down barriers that may be created by age, cultural diversity, ability, gender, religious belief or sexual orientation.

At the end of June, I attended the International Think Tank on Gambling Research, Policy and Practice in Auckland. Over three days, this dynamic group of service providers, policy makers and researchers engaged on issues such the convergence of gaming and gambling; the relationship between women and betting advertising; emerging issues in clinical practice; and approaches to First Nations and migrant communities.

It was an empowering and inspiring series of discussions – and all the better for being held in person.

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