Counsellors tackling problem gambling have welcomed plans to establish a new clinical training and research program ultimately leading to better treatment for people with gambling problems.
The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation initiative is a fresh approach to professional development for the problem gambling sector, and will assist agencies to deliver quality services to people in the community.
A reference panel made up of problem gambling treatment experts including representatives from Gambler's Help agencies across Victoria will provide advice and support to the centre and contribute to the Foundation's clinical research agenda.
Chief executive officer Serge Sardo says working with frontline experts will be critical to the success of the program.
"We need expertise and experience from the field to ensure the program is relevant and responsive to the challenges faced by the problem gambling treatment sector," said Mr Sardo.
Gambler's Help Southern General Manager Dr Sanja Cosic says the new program will strengthen their services.
"Gambler's Help Southern counsellors look forward to further clinical research on problem gambling treatment, and are particularly keen to see how research can enhance the way we address the needs of our clients," said Dr Cosic.
Banyule Community Health CEO Jim Pasinis says the centre will provide opportunities for Gambler's Help Northern to participate in developing better evidence-led treatment services.
"The Foundation's new model will allow clinicians to engage more robustly in research and training, improve clinical skills and help build capacity across the sector as a whole," said Mr Pasinis.
Mr Sardo says the new program will drive a more integrated approach to clinical research and training.
"We will work with the sector to develop a program that turns theory into practice. We believe this is the best way to nurture problem gambling counsellors and help people who have problems with gambling," said Mr Sardo.
The new centre will also provide resources for other health professionals including doctors who work with people experiencing problems with gambling.
A new online resource will be developed to further support their development and training needs.