This blog article first appeared on Counsellor Sam and has been republished with full permission.
People thinking about making changes to their gambling habits often find it daunting deciding where to start: Should you go to Gambling Anonymous meetings? Go to see a psychologist? See a counsellor? Try to do it all by yourself?
If you’re seeking help for the first time, it’s understandable that you may be confused about where to get it. We’ve got some suggestions about how to take the first step:
- Visit the Gambling Help NSW website - it provides information and resources about gambling from contributing factors and ideas for making changes or cutting back, to self-help materials that you can try for yourself.
- Make a call to the Gambling Helpline 1800 858 858 - speak to a trained gambling counsellor who can give you some advice. Depending on your needs, the counsellor can talk to you over the phone about gambling and ask you some questions, such as what changes you might like to make, and what has stopped you from being able to make these changes so far. Or, if you feel ready, they can refer you to see a face-to-face counsellor.
- See a face-to-face counsellor - many people benefit from speaking to somebody face-to-face, particularly if their gambling has triggered other problems in their lives. Gambling Help NSW offers gambling counselling from trained behavioural change and gambling specialists, and financial counselling from professionals experienced in debt, bankruptcy and personal finance.
- Contact Gamblers Anonymous (GA) - for some people, attending GA meetings might also be helpful, as it provides peer support. Listening to other people’s stories and sharing your own may help empower you to make important changes in your life. It doesn’t have to be a choice between GA or individual counselling either - many people do both.
If you’re nervous, remind yourself that people like you seek help every day. The help offered is free, non-judgmental, and designed to support you to move forward. Call 1800 858 858 to speak to a trained counsellor who can help you find a strategy that works for you.