Addressing the Needs of Problem Gamblers With Co-Morbid Issues: Policy and Service Delivery Approaches
Keywords:problem gambling, health, co-morbidities, cross-sector collaboration, service delivery
Most people with gambling problems have at least one co-occurring condition and many experience multiple co-occurring conditions simultaneously. In many Western jurisdictions, a specialist service response has developed, with separate agencies and workforces established to respond to gambling problems. Despite the number of co-occurring issues that occur alongside gambling, research is limited on the prevalence of problem gambling across some service systems, such as mental health and family service sectors. However, it is reasonable to conclude that significant numbers of people with gambling problems are currently engaged in other health and welfare service sectors. Partnership work with other service sectors is therefore vital to respond to the needs of these people. In Victoria, Australia, a partnership program was established in gambling help services to improve integration and co-ordination between gambling, alcohol and drug, family support, and mental health service sectors. From the experience acquired in developing the program, we seek in this article to outline the benefits and challenges of implementing a cross-sector approach in gambling treatment service systems and to recommend effective strategies to develop a cross-sector approach, including creating an authorising environment at the government policy level.
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