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Bushfire trauma and gambling

The thoughts of the staff and board of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation are with those whose lives have been affected by the recent bushfires that have ravaged large parts of Australia.

As the urgency of the immediate danger dissipates, the smoke haze lifts and evacuated residents return to their communities, other less obvious consequences of the bushfires may come into play.

Affected communities will need ongoing support as they work through grief and seek to re-establish themselves, their health and wellbeing. As will many others who experienced the crisis first-hand ­– firefighters, police officers and paramedics, as well as other volunteers, military personnel, forestry and wildlife workers, local government officials and journalists, to name a few.

Traumatic events can exacerbate people's need to seek solace in activities, like gambling. This can be especially appealing to people who are feeling vulnerable.

Through our Gambler’s Help agencies, the Foundation offers professional therapeutic and financial support services, delivered by compassionate, well-trained staff throughout the state as often, and for as long, as needed.

Victorians struggling with their own gambling or affected by someone else’s can access free, confidential information, advice, counselling and referral services 24/7 by calling 1800 858 858. Or for other support, including online chat and self-help resources, by visiting

So, if you or anyone you know would benefit from talking to someone about this issue, please contact Gambler’s Help.

Shane Lucas

CEO, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

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