Help and support
Help and support for family and friends
Look after yourself
"It’s really difficult. I’m torn between love for him and protecting myself and my family. It’s hard having to draw the line and be strong. It’s sad that I can’t trust my own twin brother"
Gambler’s Help assists family members and friends, as well as the person with the gambling problem.
Support for children
Apart from the obvious financial difficulties, children of someone who has an issue with their gambling may feel confused by their parents' change in behaviour. They may also feel abandoned, angry and depressed by what is happening at home.
To minimise the effect on children, support them emotionally to assist them to deal with the issues.
- Encourage children to talk freely about their feelings.
- Assure them that they are not responsible.
- Attempt to keep children engaged in family activities.
- If you are a parent, try not to over involve children in financial and problem-solving matters caused by gambling.
- Try to ensure that children understand that their family may need to budget but that they will be OK.
- Do not provide ‘bailout’ financial assistance to the person with a gambling problem. However, you may wish to assist their children in some ways such as paying for school excursions, clothes or outings.
- Do not denigrate the other parent as this can cause confusion. Separate the person from the behaviour and acknowledge that the behaviour is bad, not the person.
Should I seek professional help?
It is important to protect yourself financially and emotionally from any harm that may arise from problem gambling.
- You have the right to feel safe, and emotionally and financially secure.
- If taking action puts your safety or the safety of others at risk, you may need professional help.
You may need to put some emotional and physical distance between yourself and the person with the gambling problem.
This can be distressing and you may need to cease or dramatically change your relationship with the person who has a gambling problem. The change may only be for a short time or it may be permanent.
If you are starting to experience overwhelming sadness, anxiety or anger, seeking professional help may be a good idea. Talking to a professional who understands problem gambling will help you regain perspective and explore your options.
Counselling or self-help groups can assist you in making decisions regarding your relationship. Tell someone you trust about what’s happening. This is not compromising the privacy of the person with the gambling problem. Rather, it is building support for you among professionals and your friends . You may find relationship-counselling and mediation a safer alternative for discussing problems and seeking solutions, especially if there is a breakdown of communication between you and the person with the gambling problem.
Family members and friends can call to get support from Gambler’s Help and Peer Connection.
You may aso find the following pamphlets helpful: