The Ministry of Health's refreshed Strategy to Prevent and Minimise Gambling Harm was launched by the Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa today.
Establishing a consumer network with people who’ve previously been harmed by gambling will be one of the key focuses in the strategy.
Every three years’ the strategy is updated and this year, the Government has increased funding for the strategy by 5 million dollars.
The Ministry’s Manager, Addictions, Richard Taylor says about five percent of New Zealanders experience some level of individual gambling harm.
“Some 5,000 people access gambling addiction services each year, most of whom are in crisis. Another 5,000 receive brief interventions each year.”
“Gambling harm is a serious mental and public health issue that can have a devastating effect on the wellbeing of individuals and their whānau. The Gambling Act requires that we regularly review, consult on and refresh this strategy, but working with communities affected by gambling harm is also the best way to ensure that our strategy makes a difference.”
Mr Taylor says one thing we know is that Māori, Pacific and Asian populations are disproportionately impacted by gambling harm.
“We need to improve that and we need to improve equities when it comes to the harm caused by gambling.”
“He Ara Oranga, the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry report is really clear that we need to involve people who experience mental health and addiction issues such as gambling harm in designing the services - after all they are there for those people and not for Government or clinicians. The Consumer Network is one way we intend to address this.”
“We’re also planning to improve access to and choice of services by piloting new services. This includes adding residential care and peer support to the service mix, and piloting new and collaborative models of care to address cultural and language barriers, geographical gaps and foster innovation.”
“New Zealand has been at the forefront of preventing and minimising gambling harm for some time. I’m confident this refreshed strategy will only help to further reduce the impact of gambling harm on New Zealander’s lives.”
Read the Hon Jenny Salesa, Associate Minister of Health's, media release: Tackling gambling harm to improve mental health and equity