Gambling Addiction Services Funding
Gambling Awareness Trust allocates €1.7M for services to support those affected by problem gambling in 2023 The introduction of six new support services represents a significant advancement in Gambling Awareness Trust’s ability to respond to the critical and growing needs their research has highlighted. Anyone in Ireland experiencing harm from problem gambling can now get help easily. The Gambling Awareness Trust has been in operation for just over three years having been established to fund research, education and awareness, treatment, rehabilitation and support to minimise gambling harms in Ireland. During that time enormous work has been done to develop easily accessible services on the ground to respond to the needs of those experiencing problem gambling. Research commissioned by Gambling Awareness Trust found that there are an estimated 55,000 problem gamblers in Ireland. It also outlined the need for a national service providing gambling treatments, where clinics are geographically spread to ensure ease of access for people seeking support with harmful gambling. Speaking at the launch of the new support services, Pam Bergin, CEO of Gambling Awareness Trust, said:
“Harmful gambling can have serious consequences for people’s mental health, their employment and relationships. International research reports that for every single person identified with a ‘gambling disorder’, up to six other people are impacted significantly. Given the estimated prevalence of 55,000 problem gamblers in Ireland, this presents a significant number of individuals affected in Irish society and highlights the need for increased services and support in this area”
Since 2019 the services funded and supported to develop include:
- The National Helpline is operated by Dunlewey Addiction Services on our behalf and is manned by professionals offering expert support for anyone experiencing problems with their gambling. Initial calls can be followed up with appointments for face-to-face or online professional counselling.
- HelpLink Mental Health – among its suite of mental health services Helplink provides a free, national gambling addiction counselling support service (online and by phone) for people 16+ with gambling addiction problems and also their affected family members. Furthermore, Helplink provides a one year aftercare group support service, which is also available nationally online.
- Together-Razem Group, a Cork-based organisation offers support to members of our Eastern European communities affected by problem gambling through online, phone and in-person counselling and support groups.
- Walkinstown Greenhills Resource Centre expanded its provision of addiction support services to meet the needs of those presenting with problem gambling through a phone and text service and in-person counselling.
- Cuan Mhuire opened the first gambling-specific residential treatment programme in the country at their Athy campus. This innovative programme provides 20 clinical beds for those who require clinical support with their addiction.
- The National Problem Gambling Support Service is currently being rolled out on a pilot basis in collaboration with the National Forum of Family Resource Centres. This service provides professional counselling for anyone affected by problem gambling, both individual gamblers and their affected others – family members and friends. It is available in 21 community-based Family Resource Centres across both rural and urban areas.
- Through collaborations with Cuan Mhuire, two accredited Level 8 Continuing Professional Development courses have been developed and rolled out at Munster Technological University and UCC. The Certificate in Continuing Professional Development in Responding to Problem Gambling is specifically designed to equip a wide range of addiction counsellors/psychotherapists, drug and alcohol treatment professionals, mental health and social care professionals and volunteers with the knowledge and skills to help and support those affected by problem gambling in Ireland. Many Counselling professionals have undertaken the training programme already, and all organisations funded by Gambling Awareness Trust are required to use Counsellors accredited through the programme.
“It has given me a different perspective on gambling addiction. I work in other forms of addiction but I have little experience of gambling. I assumed that it was just another form of addiction but the course has shown me the unique complexities of gambling.”Expanded services introduced in 2023 include:
- Turas Counselling.ie is an Addiction service based in Dundalk, Co. Louth. This service will respond to those affected by problem gambling through the recruitment of a Problem Gambling-specific Counsellor, this individual will have experience in the field and will have completed the Level 8 GAT-funded training. Turas also aims to deliver a county-wide awareness campaign to promote the new service.
- Whitechurch Addiction Support Project (WASP) is a community-based addiction support service based in Dublin 14 with a target reach around Dublin 6, 8, 12, 14 & 24. The project will provide a Family Support Programme for loved ones affected by a family member’s gambling. The programme will be delivered over 30 weeks and will include education and counselling support.
- Aiseiri is already a well-established Addiction Service which will recruit a specialist Counsellor for gambling addiction and will ensure all staff are trained in the Level 8 specialist training to adequately meet the needs of those presenting with gambling addiction. Aiseiri provides service to young people as well as adults and is based in Tipperary with outreach services across the country.
- Bushy Park Addiction Service in County Clare will recruit a specialist Counsellor to meet the needs of those presenting with problematic gambling and gambling addiction.
- Newbridge FRC, a community-based support service will provide a ‘Recovery Café’ for those in recovery from addiction. This project has been trialled on a pilot basis and has demonstrated a need to provide a safe space for those in recovery from gambling addiction to come together for peer support, training and education.
- Expansion will take place at Cuan Mhuire, based on the response to the first gambling-specific Residential Treatment Programme in the Athy Campus and the growing need for this treatment option, Cuan Mhuire will open a second unit in the Bruree Campus in County Limerick.
‘As Ireland’s largest provider of addiction treatment services, we are at the forefront in the field of gambling addiction and related comorbidities. The support we have received from The Gambling Awareness Trust has enabled Cuan Mhuire to provide specialist residential treatment services, aftercare and family support to clients who are in dire situations because of problem gambling. These life-saving services in Athy, Co. Kildare and Bruff, Co. Limerick are vital, due to the absence of statutory support mechanisms in Ireland, but they would not be in place had it not been for the work of The Gambling Awareness Trust.”The Gambling Awareness Trust has also enabled Cuan Mhuire to provide groundbreaking postgraduate accredited training to therapists and counsellors treating people with problem gambling, which will directly impact the quality of service provision across the country.
“Given the wide geographic spread of these services and the options available for in-person, online and phone counselling supports, peer support groups, residential treatment and general support for young people and adults directly affected by problem and their families, there is no need for anyone to suffer in silence”
“From Cork to Donegal we want to ensure that anyone who needs help can get help easily”Said Pam Bergin, Gambling Awareness Trust CEO
“The introduction of six new services into the field this year represents significant advancement in our ability to respond to the serious and growing societal needs our research has highlighted. Additionally, the promotion of these services together through digital channels, and our awareness campaign on TG4 in conjunction with the Allianz League sporting calendar aims to open the conversation, create awareness of gambling supports and reduce the stigma associated with problem gambling”The Gambling Awareness Trust will continue to fund specialist training, in response to industry feedback and the findings of the Maynooth Report, ‘Gambling harms, Trends & Responses: Ireland in an International Context, published in 2021, which outlined the lack of professional qualifications in the field of gambling addiction and support for those presenting with gambling addiction. Through ongoing collaboration with Cuan Mhuire, part-funded CPD courses in Munster Technological University and UCC will again be offered to Counsellors who wish to develop their skills with contemporary knowledge in the field of gambling addiction. Places are limited. All organisations funded by Gambling Awareness Trust are required to have staff complete these courses. Contact: Elaine Bradley-Ryan, Media Manager Tel: 087-1094522, Email: [email protected]