Australians addicted to gambling will lose around $21,000 each per year, or around one third of the average Australian salary. But problem gambling doesn’t just cause financial stress–it can also trigger serious health issues such as depression, anxiety and problem drinking.
Sadly, only 15 per cent of problem gamblers ever seek help.
This week, Responsible Gambling Awareness Week is recognised in several states across Australia to highlight the issue of problem gambling and its impacts on individuals and their communities.
According to Dr Stephanie Bradstock, Medibank Health Solutions’ National Medical Director for Mental Health Programs, the Australian Government estimates that each problem gambler will negatively impact the lives of between five and ten others. Dr Bradstock says:
“Gambling is often a hidden problem, and yet its impacts can be so devastating for a person and their family. Fortunately Responsible Gambling Awareness Week also highlights the availability of free and effective treatments such as psychological therapies and helplines. These interventions can reduce the severity of gambling problems and ease the stress on those affected.”
Know what responsible gambling is
Responsible gambling is:
- Seeing gambling as a form of entertainment
- Not betting more than you can afford to lose
- Knowing and accepting the odds
- Being able to stay in control of how much time and money is spent gambling.
If you think you, or someone you know has a problem with gambling, the Gambling Helpline provides free, professional and confidential telephone support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1800 858 858 or visit www.gamblinghelponline.org.au.