Collaboration between health and welfare services and gambling support services to help Victorians affected by gambling is the focus of a conference with over 300 health professionals in Melbourne today.
Coordinated by the Bouverie Centre in partnership with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the conference will provide counsellors and support workers with tools to improve the quality of gambling help services.
Foundation chief executive officer Serge Sardo says the complex nature of the issues surrounding problem gambling, and those affected by it, requires an integrated and collaborative response from the service system.
"With as few as 10 per cent of people with gambling problems seeking formal help, we are adopting a 'no wrong door' approach to service delivery to make sure clients don't fall through the cracks," he said.
Mr Sardo says many people with gambling problems also experience other problems.
"When people with gambling problems come into contact with services, it is often for other issues such as health, relationship breakdown or drug and alcohol issues which can result in problem gambling being unrecognised and untreated," he said.
The Bouverie Centre has worked closely with the Foundation and Gambler's Help to develop a set of practice guidelines to improve collaboration across the health and human services sector.
Supported by a background paper examining successful collaboration projects from around Australia and the world, the guidelines will help practitioners and agencies to work better together.
"Cross-sector collaboration allows agencies to better manage the complex needs of clients and provide a more holistic and coordinated service.
By working across sectors, Gambler's Help services can also contribute to a growing pool of knowledge, expertise, funding, shared referrals and other valuable resources which can improve outcomes for clients," he said.
The Foundation recently announced a number of changes to the Gambler's Help service model including aligning service catchments with health and human services providers, providing in-language counselling for culturally diverse communities and streamlining referrals and appointment booking processes.
"We welcome cross-sector collaboration as a strategic and practical step forward which will ultimately help deliver effective and responsive services that make a difference in the lives of Victorians affected by gambling," he said.
The Foundation also provides training for health professionals working with clients affected by gambling through its Professional Development Centre and will host a problem gambling treatment and prevention conference in October 2014.
Explore our cross-sector collaboration online resources.