Many people know of someone who gambles to excess – a friend, friend of a friend, a partner or family member. It can often be hard to know how to help. Concerned friends or family members often explain that they don’t know what to say, and sometimes feel they can’t say anything for fear of making the gambling behaviour worse.
The following are some tips to keep in mind when speaking to someone about their gambling.
– Ask the gambler how they are going with their efforts to reduce or stop their gambling. Ask this in a non-judgmental way, so they don’t feel like they will be harshly judged if they answer they are not going so well.
– Remember that people can and do recover from problem gambling, however behaviour change can be hard for some people.
– People do not develop gambling problems over night. Many people are unaware of the signs of problem gambling and it can take some time for the gambler to realise the serious nature of the problem.
– Don’t be afraid to tell them how their gambling affects you or other people in their lives, but do this in a calm manner (remember, yelling probably hasn’t worked in the past and likely leads to big arguments, the gambler storming off and nothing being resolved).
– Let them know that you support them in any efforts to change.
– Encourage them to seek professional help if they are not going so well.
– Helping someone with gambling difficulties can be hard work. Therefore, it is also important to get support for yourself if you notice it is weighing you down.
– Do not take blame for someone else’s gambling behaviour. In the end, the choice to gamble or not to gamble is made by the gambler themselves.
For more tips about helping someone with their gambling, check out the following link.
You can also call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 or go to the website for more information and support.