If you have experienced problem gambling, or maybe still are, it is likely you have experienced a wide range of distressing consequences. This may include, to name a few: financial hardship, feelings of depression and anxiety, and relationship problems. Perhaps one (and likely the only) advantage of having suffered through this is that you are in the best position to understand what other problem gamblers are experiencing. You can relate to, and emphasise with, the devastating effect that gambling would be having on then, as well as their family and friends.
If you do see others in a pokies room looking upset, down on their luck or agitated, perhaps talking to them and sharing your experiences may help. Simply asking “Are you okay?” may be what that person needs more than anything else. While you may then need to encourage them to seek professional help, you can be the one that helps them make that extremely important first step in their long journey to recovery that you too once had to take.
If you know of somebody who is having problems with gambling, let them know that a gambling counsellor can be found by calling Gambling Help on 1800 858 858. Free individual sessions are available to anybody who might be concerned their gambling has gotten out of hand.
The Gambling Help website has a range of free resources and self-help tools available to download or order, as well as new community support forums where you can share your experiences and hear from others who are in similar situations. Visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au/forum to join the conversation.