Helplink has joined forces with the Gambling Awareness Trust to provide a national gambling addiction / gambling dependency counselling service that is available for free and out-of-hours.
We now also offer free aftercare groups for clients who have gone through the counselling process with our addiction counsellors.
Appointments are available through online or phone counselling nationwide.
This service is funded via the Gambling Awareness Trust an independent charity setup in 2019 to fund
research, education and treatment services to help minimise gambling related harm in Ireland.
- Appointments are available for people over 16 years of age experiencing gambling issues/problems/addictions and their family members; who may be affected by their loved one’s gambling.
- Each client is assigned 6-12 free counselling sessions (or more if recommended by their counsellor), prior to attending a weekly aftercare group.
- If you want to cancel or postpone your appointment you must do so 48 hours in advance. Consequently, if you don’t cancel within 48 hours you may lose one of the free appointments allotted to you.
- Your first appointment will be one hour long in order for you to go over the counselling contract (which will be provided to you before the appointment begins via email), an initial assessment and risk assessment after this all appointments are 50 minutes long.
How does it work?
You contact us by emailing email@example.com or phone our national number 0818 99 88 80 to arrange an appointment or to get more information.
Once you have asked for an appointment you will have two options to engage with your Counsellor:
- through online counselling (the best option as you can see your Counsellor and they can see you – it’s like Skype but more secure)
- through phone counselling
When you have chosen your appointment method our administrators will email you, detailing your appointment date/time for your appointment you will also receive an email with all the details for engaging with your Counsellor/appointment and you will also receive some documentation about the service.
This service is for young people (16 to 18 years) and adults alike. However, Helplink must have written permission (by email) from the young person’s parent or guardian before the appointments can begin.
- We do not provide a crisis service. People seriously contemplating suicide or in need of immediate help should go to their local A&E. Dial 999 for assistance.
- Our national phone number is not a crisis helpline it is used to provide information about the service and to arrange appointments.
For some other useful resources and supports for help with problem/compulsive gambling, click here.
My councillor Kevin has shown great patience, commitment, care, empathy and understanding while helping me deal with my addiction.
He has given me great advice, suggestions and resources to get me on the road to recovery.
Kevin is very easy to talk to and he is a wonderful listener, he is never judgemental.
I can’t recommend Kevin highly enough.
I don’t know how I would have managed without his assistance and the Helplink Mental Health service.
The shame and pity I felt with my gambling addiction made me feel horrendous emotions. I felt like killing myself, even though I was receiving help from GA. This was, until I began my counselling with Kevin in Helplink.
He began weekly sessions with me and his ability to listen and give suggestions enabled me to understand the cause and root to not only my gambling but the everyday problems that I was experiencing in my life
Having counselling during Christmas and key holidays/sporting events was key.
Recently, I was one full year off gambling and I couldn’t feel better. I know this is from the counselling I have received from Kevin and from GA. I exercise regularly, deter myself from those acting negatively around me and think positively about every situation. Most importantly, I can cope with my emotions and think with peace of mind. Without Kevin’s help in Helplink, I have no doubt that I would have taken my own life and I will be forever grateful for this.
I have had a 12 week session for a gambling problem with Glyn and he was very approachable, easy to speak to and very informative in how to overcome the problems with gambling. He was knowledgeable about where I could get information for myself and my wife to be able to understand why/what caused me to be unable to stop until it got out of control. I have not gambled or felt the need to gamble since my sessions with Glyn.
I would appreciate if you could pass on to Kevin that is now a full year since getting in touch and starting my recovery.
Additional information on problem/compulsive gambling – By Mayo Clinic Staff
Compulsive gambling, also called gambling disorder, is the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life. Gambling means that you’re willing to risk something you value in the hope of getting something of even greater value.
Gambling can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs or alcohol can, leading to addiction. If you have a problem with compulsive gambling, you may continually chase bets that lead to losses, hide your behaviour, deplete savings, accumulate debt, or even resort to theft or fraud to support your addiction.
Compulsive gambling is a serious condition that can destroy lives. Although treating compulsive gambling can be challenging, many people who struggle with compulsive gambling have found help through professional treatment.
Signs and symptoms of compulsive gambling (gambling disorder) include:
- Being preoccupied with gambling, such as constantly planning how to get more gambling money
- Needing to gamble with increasing amounts of money to get the same thrill
- Trying to control, cut back or stop gambling, without success
- Feeling restless or irritable when you try to cut down on gambling
- Gambling to escape problems or relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression
- Trying to get back lost money by gambling more (chasing losses)
- Lying to family members or others to hide the extent of your gambling
- Jeopardizing or losing important relationships, a job, or school or work opportunities because of gambling
- Resorting to theft or fraud to get gambling money
- Asking others to bail you out of financial trouble because you gambled money away
Unlike most casual gamblers who stop when losing or set a loss limit, people with a compulsive gambling problem are compelled to keep playing to recover their money — a pattern that becomes increasingly destructive over time.
Some people with a compulsive gambling problem may have remission where they gamble less or not at all for a period of time. However, without treatment, the remission isn’t usually permanent.
When to see a doctor or mental health professional
Have family members, friends or co-workers expressed concern about your gambling? If so, listen to their worries. Because denial is almost always a feature of compulsive or addictive behaviour, it may be difficult for you to realize that you have a problem.
If you recognize your own behaviour from the list of signs and symptoms for compulsive gambling, seek professional help.
Exactly what causes someone to gamble compulsively isn’t well-understood. Like many problems, compulsive gambling may result from a combination of biological, genetic and environmental factors.
Although most people who play cards or wager never develop a gambling problem, certain factors are more often associated with compulsive gambling:
- Mental health disorders. People who gamble compulsively often have substance abuse problems, personality disorders, depression or anxiety. Compulsive gambling may also be associated with bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Age. Compulsive gambling is more common in younger and middle-aged people. Gambling during childhood or the teenage years increases the risk of developing compulsive gambling. However, compulsive gambling in the older adult population can also be a problem.
- Sex. Compulsive gambling is more common in men than women. Women who gamble typically start later in life and may become addicted more quickly. But gambling patterns among men and women have become increasingly similar.
- Family or friend influence. If your family members or friends have a gambling problem, the chances are greater that you will, too.
- Medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome. Drugs called dopamine agonists have a rare side effect that may result in compulsive behaviours, including gambling, in some people.
- Certain personality characteristics. Being highly competitive, a workaholic, impulsive, restless or easily bored may increase your risk of compulsive gambling.
Compulsive gambling can have profound and long-lasting consequences for your life, such as:
- Relationship problems
- Financial problems, including bankruptcy
- Legal problems or imprisonment
- Poor work performance or job loss
- Poor general health
- Suicide, suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts
Although there’s no proven way to prevent a gambling problem, educational programs that target individuals and groups at increased risk may be helpful.
If you have risk factors for compulsive gambling, consider avoiding gambling in any form, people who gamble and places where gambling occurs. Get treatment at the earliest sign of a problem to help prevent gambling from becoming worse.