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Helpline closure creates level of uncertainty

The Salvation Army Media Release

Gambling Helpline closure creates level of uncertainty

Wellington, 1 May 2008. -

The impending closure of the Gambling Helpline will create a level of uncertainty both among people seeking help from the effects of problem gambling and service providers, says the Salvation Army.

The Gambling Helpline announced yesterday (30 April) that it would be closing at the end of October after unsuccessful contract negotiations between it and the Ministry of Health. Salvation Army National Manager of Addiction and Supportive Accommodation Services, Major Lynette Hutson, says that while it is encouraging that the Ministry intends to continue a national helpline, it is inevitable that some uncertainty will result.

'Given the importance of the service it is encouraging that the Ministry of Health has stated they are committed to ongoing delivery of a national helpline service and that they envisage no disruption to services with the move to a new provider.

'It will be sad to see the loss of the Gambling Helpline, but we look forward to the continuation of a comparable service into the future. 'The Gambling Helpline is a well-established service which has made a very significant contribution to helping people struggling with the effects of gambling harm. It has also developed a good working relationship with other service providers in the sector.

'Being able to make contact with a helping agency anonymously, by phone, email, text or web, has made it easier for people affected by problem gambling to take that first step to get help. 'Once they have made contact, they have the option of being referred to organisations such as the Salvation Army and the Problem Gambling Foundation who provide face-to-face counseling services.'

Major Hutson says that the Salvation Army is extremely concerned about the harm associated with problem gambling. The costs to individuals, families and the community are measured in terms of financial distress, family violence, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health problems, and work problems ranging from poor performance to fraud. The Salvation Army runs a network of Oasis Centres in seven locations which provide free and confidential support, advice and counseling to people impacted by problem gambling.


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