People with problematic levels of gambling are not the only ones who suffer the negative consequences of gambling. Those closest to them, such as a partner, a child, family member or close friend, may suffer too. This distress can often go unnoticed.
Recent research has indicated that partners of individuals with problematic levels of gambling are at increased risk of emotional problems, social isolation stemming from shame and secrecy, a decline of physical health, relationship dissatisfaction and financial insecurity. Children and other loved ones may also suffer confusion, uncertainty and a range of mental health problems.
Similar to what the individual suffering from the gambling problem experiences, loved ones may feel alone, isolated and uncertain about what the future holds. They often carry this burden in secret and feel guilty, frustrated or unsure about the best way to help the person they care about.
Family members, close friends and partners will often have questions such as, “Should I take control over the finances?”, “How can I best encourage them to seek help?”, “Why can’t they stop?”, and “Where is the best place to seek help?”
There is no one right answer to any of these questions, as every individual and situation is different.
If someone you care about is struggling with gambling and you are asking yourself these questions, call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858, for individual and confidential advice, completely free of charge.
To download or order the range of free resources, including the ‘Self Help Guide for Families’, or to join the new Gambling Help support forum which has a dedicated section for family and friends, visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au