Limerick counselling service for problem gamblers 

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Gambling Awareness Trust Executive Director Pam Bergin.

A NEW support service to help people dealing with harmful gambling is now available at the Family Resource Centre in Hospital County Limerick and the Northside Family Resource Centre in Limerick City.

The National Problem Gambling Support Service is a collaboration between Gambling Awareness Trust and the Family Resource Centre National Forum (FRCNF), which will see 20 Family Resource Centres (FRCs) provide professional and confidential counselling services to those experiencing harmful gambling and their families.

Counselling staff with experience in dealing with gambling addiction have been appointed in each of the participating FRCs. It is expected that the service will run for an initial three-year period, with a project evaluation to follow at the end of the final year.

The service will be offered at affordable rates based on each person’s ability to pay.

Gambling Awareness Trust Executive Director Pam Bergin said she would strongly encourage anyone in Limerick who is experiencing harmful gambling to contact their local FRC.

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“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 supports in this area.

“The National Problem Gambling Support Service will provide vital community-based support to help those experiencing harmful gambling and their affected others. Through the FRCs, Gambling Awareness Trust wants to end the stigma attached to problem gambling by sending a strong message to those affected that professional and confidential support is available.”

FRC National Forum chief executive Fergal Landy welcomed the fact that Gambling Awareness Trust had recognised their capacity to deliver a consistent, high quality, national service.

“The ability of local Family Resource Centres in Limerick, and across the country to offer a therapeutic response through counselling integrated with a community development approach to family support is to fore in how this service will be implemented,” he added.

The Gambling Awareness Trust is encouraging people who would like to access the service to visit their website: www.gamblingcare.ie or their local Family Resource Centre website for more information.