The aim of this project was to create guidelines to help members of the public recognise and support someone with a gambling problem, such as a family member, friend or co-worker.
The project team recruited two panels to bring a strong evidence base and expert consensus to the project. The first panel consisted of people with lived experience of problem gambling, either as a gambler or carer, and the second consisted of people with academic or clinical experience of problem gambling.
Developing the guidelines
The project team created a list of statements about helping someone with a gambling problem, based on a review of academic and help services literature.
The two panels then rated these statements, which covered topics such as:
- the warning signs
- talking to someone with gambling problems about your concerns, including dealing with difficulties that may arise during the conversation
- encouraging someone to seek help for their gambling
- providing support to help someone change.
The panels then completed further surveys to review statements where there was disagreement, as well as rate new statements suggested by panel members. The guidelines were then developed from the statements supported by both panels.
How this research might be useful
The guidelines have been developed for promotion to the public as an appropriate way of responding to problem gambling. They can be used as a resource to help family and friends recognise the warning signs of problem gambling earlier and approach the person experiencing problems in a supportive and non-judgemental way.
The list of warning signs for problem gambling developed and refined by expert consensus throughout the project could also be used in future research.
The guidelines are available from Mental Health First Aid Australia.