This project aimed to address two gaps in our understanding and knowledge of gambling-related harms.
Currently, no evidence-based frameworks or guidance exist for appropriately engaging individuals with a lived experience (LEX) of gambling harm in gambling harm prevention activities.
Additionally, while research shows a strong prevalence of problem gambling in individuals seeking help for mental health conditions, no studies have examined the subjective help-seeking experiences of individuals who present to services with both gambling-related harms and other mental health conditions.
Phase One – Framework for engaging LEX of gambling harm
This phase of the project developed an engagement framework using literature reviews and in collaboration with a reference group of ten individuals with a lived experience of gambling harm.
The framework included high-level guidance and core principles in engaging with LEX of gambling harm, as well as a five-dimensional model for the engagement of LEX of gambling harm. The framework also included practical engagement strategies and guidance on how to choose appropriate strategies.
The framework is intended to be used in co-design activities to address gambling-related harm by researchers, policy practitioners and service providers in developing new initiatives and projects.
Phase Two – ‘LEX’ of coexisting mental health conditions and gambling harm
This phase applied aspects of the framework from Phase One, and involved qualitative interviews with 20 help-seeking individuals with coexisting mental health and gambling problems.
Interviews revolved around four themes: past help-seeking; the relationship between gambling and mental health; reasons for help-seeking; and what has helped the most [in recovery from gambling].
Most participants reported past unsuccessful help-seeking attempts including self-exclusion (from gambling venues) and negative experiences, especially when they sought help for gambling at general mental health services. Their views of current gambling-specific treatments were generally positive, especially when they sought help for gambling at general mental health services.
Dr Aino Suomi, A/Prof Nicki Dowling 2021, Lived experience of help-seeking in the presence of gambling related harms and coexisting mental health conditions, Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, Melbourne.