Relationships Australia 2016 - 2017 Annual Report 1 - Page 54

Gambling Client Case Study: Tom’s Story Consumer Voice Program - Lived Experience in Gambling Help The Consumer Voice Program supports people who have overcome their destructive involvement with gambling and wish to raise community awareness of gambling-related harm by sharing the story of their experience. 1003 people attended information sessions where one or more Consumer Voice Speakers shared their story. 100% of the participants undertaking the Consumer Voice Training were satisfied with the quality of the training they received. The Peer Support Service provides one-to-one peer support to current and/or potential clients of the Gambling Help Service. 62 individual sessions were conducted with Peer Support workers. 50 Relationships Australia SA Annual Report 2016 -2017 Tom* was referred to the Gambling Help Service by Legal Services. He has an 18-year history of gambling on horses and greyhounds that escalated after he witnessed the sudden death of his close friend. Tom has young children and a partner with medical and mental health issues, and he fulfils a key role as their primary carer. At the time of referral, Tom was facing charges of Centrelink fraud because of his gambling and was awaiting sentencing. Tom wanted to stop gambling, become more financially stable, gain full-time employment and clear his Centrelink debts. Tom and his counsellor discussed techniques for dealing with gambling urges and worked out strategies for managing different scenarios that might cause relapse, explored his other interests, discussed the importance of strengthening relationships that did not involve gambling and practiced deep breathing and relaxation techniques. Importantly, Tom’s counsellor helped him to address the impact that his friend’s death was having on him and the shame and guilt he was feeling because he was not able to save him. While Tom’s commitment to his goals was helping him to adhere to his change plan, he was experiencing considerable stress over the court proceedings and the likely effect to his family if he were to go to jail. His counsellor therefore met with his partner and ensured that appropriate support services were in place to wrap around his family in the event of Tom’s incarceration. She also referred Tom to a Relationships Australia SA Financial Counsellor who negotiated hardship arrangements and payment plans for several outstanding debts and helped Tom identify budget savings. Once he felt more confident of his recovery progress, Tom was referred to Relationships Australia SA Consumer Voice Program and the Peer Support Service. These provided opportunities for him to connect with others who had experienced and recovered from problem gambling, tell his story, as well as offer support to others. A Consumer Voice Speaker shared her experience of the court process and the prison system with him and this helped to reduce his anxiety about his pending sentencing. Outcome Tom was relieved to be accepted into the Gambling Intervention Program (a court diversion program) and he is continuing to do well. *Name has been changed