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$26m to expand gambling clinic services

The Brain and Mind Centre's Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic will provide gambling services for 20 clinics in greater Sydney as part of the NSW Government's GambleAware program.

The Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic (GTRC), based at the University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Centre and School of Psychology, has been awarded $26 million over five years to lead the NSW Government's new GambleAware gambling support services in 20 clinics across three local health districts.

The NSW Office of Responsible Gambling announced the organisations that were awarded contracts to redesign and implement gambling services with University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Centre leading gambling services for the Sydney Central, Sydney West and Sydney South West health districts.

Director of the BMC's Gambling Research Clinic, Associate Professor Sally Gainsbury, said her team will deliver its clinical services through four social service organisations, incorporating 20 clinical locations and over 50 clinicians to provide community based gambling treatment services.

"This is an exciting new chapter in the translation of research and clinical expertise to providing direct support to individuals, families and the community. Under the GambleAware program we will be able to offer gambling treatment services to people in some of the most vulnerable areas with the highest rate of gambling losses."

A/ Prof Gainsbury said the Brain and Mind Centre's provision of services will be expanded from psychological gambling counselling to include financial counselling, providing support to people accessing other agencies such as legal aid, as well as greater community outreach and education.

"The new arrangement will make a substantial contribution to reducing the burden of mental health and gambling disorder and related harms in the community. In particular, we will be developing new innovations in stepped-care including online interventions that focus on early support for people who are at-risk of developing gambling problems through to care for complex issues.

"This clinical funding also presents an opportunity to build gambling research capacity and foster research collaborations, as the GTRC is Australia’s only university-affiliated gambling treatment clinic. We are looking forward to extending our collaborations with researchers and government, community and industry partners."

The Brain and Mind Centre's gambling clinic was awarded three of the 10 contracts to redesign gambling support services for NSW health districts. The contracts were awarded by competitive tender and will commence in July 2021.

The GTRC's services are free and do not require Medicare or referrals. In the three health districts where services will be managed by GTRC, the GambleAware program will replace some existing services. The GTRC has been working with all of these services to ensure that clients are transferred appropriately and new clients will be able to make appointments with GTRC services over the phone or online.