Gamblefree Day, a national initiative that takes place on 1 September every year, aims to raise awareness of the harm caused by gambling. This year local charities are working with Tui Ora and the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand to reach people who may be caught up in gambling.
Local organisations are helping the cause by distributing reusable shopping bags, pens containing problem gambling messages and pamphlets on where to access support. The Salvation Army, New Plymouth Community Foodbank, Hospice Shop New Plymouth, Reach Out Taranaki and the Koha Shed have all come forward and collectively will distribute over 500 bags to people within the community.
Tui Ora Health Promoter Hinenui Wano-Bryant says the collaboration is a great way to spread positive messages to those who may need support.
“We know that those living with or experiencing financial hardship can sometimes get caught up in gambling,” she says.
“For some it can be seen as a way of alleviating financial pressures; but it often adds to the problem.”
Problem Gambling Foundation Health Promoter and Counsellor Sandi Cumming hopes that distributing the bags will help reach people who need support.
“Knowing where to go for support is crucial. Counselling is the ideal space to explore strategies and experience encouragement that can really make a difference,” she says.”
An estimated 54,000 people in New Zealand are problem or moderate risk gamblers. Every person with a gambling problem affects between five and ten other people.
Hinenui Wano-Bryant says the effect problem gambling can have on an individual and their family can be devastating. “However support is available for all involved,” she says.
If you, or someone you care about, is caught up in gambling and you would like counselling support, you can call the local Problem Gambling Foundation office on 06 769 6020. For phone counselling you could also call the Gambling Helpline on 0800 654 655. For more information you could visit www.pgfnz.org.nz(external link) and www.choicenotchance.org.nz(external link)
If you have any queries you can contact Hinenui Wano-Bryant at Tui Ora on (06) 759 4064 or [email protected]