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International Stats Show NZ Helpline Leading World

6 July 2006

New International Statistics Show New Zealand’s Gambling Helpline is a World-Leading Model

New statistics show that Gambling Helpline is leading the world with the highest number of people using the Helpline’s services per head of population.

Revealed at the annual International Gambling Helpline Workshop held in Minnesota, USA recently, the results show more than 18,000 contacts per annum from New Zealand’s population of 4 million. This is in contrast to other helpline services such as in Oregon, USA, which receives only 5,000 contacts per annum from a similar population of 3.6 million.

However, despite the positive statistics, Gambling Helpline chief executive, Krista Ferguson, emphasised that the scale of problem gambling in New Zealand cannot be overlooked.

“Although New Zealand is a long way ahead of its contemporary helpline service providers, there is no room for complacency. Ninety per cent of an estimated 52,000 problem gamblers in New Zealand are not coming forward for help. Even less family members access the help which is freely available.”

Ms Ferguson said the other interesting finding from the survey was that the New Zealand helpline’s model was one of only two in the world which offers a full range of integrated problem gambling help services.

“Our service has had nearly 100,000 contacts with over 28,000 New Zealanders experiencing some form of gambling harm since its inception eight years ago.

“The model incorporates specialised email and phone-based helpline services and a website providing online or printed self-help mechanisms, consumer chat rooms and peer-to-peer support. The opportunity to receive referrals for face-to-face counseling is also available.

“Most other helplines do not provide ongoing support. However, this makes up a large part of our work and we have found that integrated care programmes make a crucial difference to minimising gambling harm for clients.”

Ms Ferguson was asked to co-host the workshop and to open it with a review of helplines and a discussion on their future potential. It provided an international opportunity to discuss strategies that will increase visibility of helpline providers through sharing best practice procedures and new research developments.

“The workshop provided an excellent opportunity for international helpline organisations to come together and explore the full potential of distance-based counseling. This will allow us to foster and invest in contributing more effectively to advocacy, research and policies surrounding problem gambling ultimately for the benefit of the clients to our services,” says Ms Ferguson.

The International Gambling Helpline’s Workshop is part of an annual conference held by the US National Council on Problem Gambling. It included a 53 question survey with responses from 16 international helplines from Canada, Finland, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA. The workshop was designed to challenge international thinking around the barriers and opportunities faced by helpline organisations in an increasingly complex environment.

Ms Ferguson will present the findings of the International Gambling Helpline Workshop at the annual international Think Tank co-hosted with AUT. The Think Tank, September 11-12, will continue to focus on best practice for helplines.

If you are worried about your own gambling or that of someone close to you call the Gambling Helpline on 0800 654 655 or visit www.gamblingproblem.co.nz. For international information and helpline services visit: www.gamblingproblemhelplines.com.

ENDS


GAMBLING HELPLINE CONTACT DETAILS

Gambling Helpline 0800 654 655 (Monday–Friday, 8am-10pm, Saturday–Sunday 9am-10pm)
www.gamblingproblem.co.nz

Maori Gambling Helpline 0800 654 656 (Wednesday 5-9pm, Saturday 8am-12noon)
Pasifika Gambling Helpline 0800 654 657 (Tue 5-9 pm, Thu 6-9 pm, Friday 12 midday - 4 pm)
Youth Gambling Helpline 0800 654 659 (Monday 5-8pm) or www.inyaface.co.nz
Gambling Debt Helpline 0800 654 658 (Saturday 12-4pm)

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