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Partner News – April 2024

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AddictionZ 2024: connecting with AOD and mental health professionals

The Foundation is again sponsoring the Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association’s annual addiction conference. The conference provides an excellent opportunity to build knowledge in the mental health sector about the harms associated with gambling addiction and raise awareness of Gambler’s Help referral pathways and services.

AddictionZ will be held on the Gold Coast from 29 April to 1 May 2024, bringing together professionals from the alcohol and other drugs (AOD), mental and behavioural health sectors to explore and discuss addiction trends and treatments.

Keynote speakers will include: Dr Anastasia Hronis, clinical psychologist and academic at the University of Technology Sydney; Cormach Evans, founder and managing director of Foundation partner Strong Brother Strong Sister; and Nicholas Bloom, Foundation Lived Experience Advisory Committee member and mental health professional. Anastasia and Nicholas recently hosted six Let’s Talk Gambling vodcasts that offer practical advice on how to support someone struggling with gambling.

The Foundation’s Principal Clinical Advisor, Tony Clarkson, will speak at a networking session on 30 April.

Find out more at

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The Foundation’s Tony Clarkson and Head of Research Rosa Billi at last year’s conference.

In this edition

Foundation news

Analysis provides insight into sector needs

The Foundation’s Sector Development Hub recently undertook a training needs analysis to determine current and future support requirements for clinical and non-clinical Gambler’s Help practitioners.

The survey was sent to all staff who work on Foundation-funded programs, including Gambler’s Help programs, Love the Game and other prevention projects. A high engagement rate (135 people completed the survey) indicated there is a strong desire for ongoing sector development support.

The survey measured perceived importance and confidence for 25 general skills and knowledge topics. The four listed below are considered to be the top priorities because they were rated by survey respondents as higher in importance and lower in confidence.

  1. Protecting assets
  2. Evidence-based approaches (including up-to-date practice)
  3. Working with diverse audiences (e.g. First Nations people and communities, youth, older adults, multicultural audiences and/or LGBTQIA+)
  4. Culturally informed practices (First Nation’s people and multicultural people)

In response to the survey findings, the Sector Development Hub, in partnership with Financial Counselling Victoria, will schedule a series of financial counselling-focused events. Similarly, planning is underway to run face-to-face and online sessions that address these four and other training topics identified in the survey. More information will be provided to the sector before 30 June 2024.

Community engagement news

The power of lived experience to grab attention

ReSPIN speaker Dan recently shared his personal experiences of gambling harm and recovery with a captivated audience at Diamond Creek men’s shed.

He spoke after a presentation by Alisa Huynh, a community engagement officer with Banyule Community Health, who set the scene with an overview of concerning gambling harm statistics relevant to Victoria.

Dan’s eloquent telling of his story debunked the myth that ‘being a man means being strong and showing no emotion’ and prompted a range of questions from the event’s highly engaged attendees.

Later, mingling with the group, Dan discussed his initial discomfort in expressing to his nearest and dearest how important they are to him, and talked about the role they played in his recovery. Dan also emphasised that, in reaching out to support services such as Gambler’s Help, he took a significant and positive step towards turning his life around.

Dan’s story was retold in a front-page article in The Courier newspaper, which highlighted Dan’s open and honest approach and the obstacles he overcame, enabling others to benefit from his insights.

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Dan made a connection with his audience at the Diamond Creek men's shed.

Financial counselling news

Allies join forces to raise awareness of gaming to gambling

Gambler’s Help partners collaborated to deliver a ‘gaming to gambling’ presentation at the Financial Counselling Victoria annual conference last October.

Representatives from The Salvation Army, Banyule Community Health, Meli, Better Health Network and ReSPIN combined their knowledge and expertise to create and deliver the session, which was followed by an interactive panel discussion.

Key to the session’s success was the seamless combination of financial and therapeutic counselling, community engagement and lived experience content.

“The audience got a very in-depth view [of] how easy it is to get hooked from gaming to gambling and then the lived experience just cemented the ease of how it all happens,” said Meli financial counsellor Lucinda Tucker.

Banyule Community Health senior health promotion officer Missy Ali was confident that the information shared in the session would be used by those who attended, in their professional and/or personal capacities.

“Having the opportunity to collaborate with, and learn from, other Gambler’s Help agencies on such a different and exciting level was fantastic,” Missy enthused. 

“I felt the presentations and panel discussions were well received and we had some amazing questions asked of us.”

Lina Miao, financial counsellor at The Salvation Army, was honoured at the conference with a nomination for the Virginia Noonan Award. The award recognises excellence in service to the financial counselling profession or clients over and above normal duties.

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Foundation partners delivered an engaging session at the 2023 Financial Counselling Victoria conference.

Training and development

Cryptocurrency and gambling

8 May 2024, 12.30–1.30 pm

In this presentation, Professor Paul Delfabbro from the University of Adelaide School of Psychology will discuss the growth of cryptocurrency markets and the risks that these highly speculative investments can pose for the community. Although Bitcoin is now considered an established and lucrative long-term investment, most other cryptocurrencies are risky.

Investment in these assets is similar to a form of gambling and can result in significant losses and harm to individuals and their families. Only a minority of investors make significant gains.

Paul will discuss the known links to gambling activities, the role of blockchain technology in the increasing monetisation of gaming, the role of social media, and the many scams and pitfalls that are often unknown to new investors in these markets. The implications of these developments for policy, consumer protection and treatment services will be discussed.

Register here.

Single Session Family Consultation (SSFC)

21 May 2024, 9.00 am – 4.30 pm

SSFC is a brief intervention developed by the Bouverie Centre for routinely engaging with families and clients. The aims are to help families identify and address their own needs, and to clarify how the family and other supports will be involved in an individual's care.

The session is open to all therapeutic and financial counsellors wanting to gain more advanced skills in working with individuals and affected others. It will cover techniques and skills required for SSFC along with preventing and managing conflict skills. It is also a great opportunity to understand more about the service offered by Gambling Minds.

Location: Level 4, 549 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Register here

Using motivational interviewing techniques with gambling harm clients

27 May 2024, 10 am – 4 pm

Financial counsellors working in gambling harm programs often work with clients and affected others who disengage from the service during support.

Motivational interviewing is a unique process that explores and resolves resistance and focuses on facilitating change among clients. The technique can assist counsellors to understand a client’s reason for change and the effect of uncertainties, and to support them through their journey to reduce gambling harm.

Register here

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