Ballarat to pilot new gambling screening tool

19 October 2021

Health care professionals in Ballarat will pilot a new Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation developed screening tool, which aims to connect treatment and support for people who struggle with gambling.

Michaela Settle, Member for Buninyong launched the Ballarat pilot to coincide with Gambling Harm Awareness Week (18–24 October 2021), the pilot will focus on improving the response to people who may be negatively affected by gambling and other co-occurring health issues.

Ballarat Community Health (BCH) and Child and Family Services (Cafs) will participate in the pilot, which includes a training program and the new screening tool, GHA1 (Gambling Harm Assessment 1).

The pilot was developed with guidance from the Gambling Minds team at Alfred Psychiatry, and Gambling Harm Service clinical consultant Dr Jane Oakes, to deliver more accessible, integrated and visible pathways to support.

The 12-month pilot will run in Ballarat from early 2022 with potential for it to then be extended to other parts of the state.

People who experience gambling harm often feel guilty, embarrassed and ashamed. This stigma can lead to feelings of failure and act as a barrier to seeking help. The pilot will equip health care professionals to identify individuals who may require further support.

During Gambling Harm Awareness Week, communities are encouraged to talk about the harms associated with gambling, which can affect self-esteem, relationships, physical and mental health, work performance, cultural connection and social life.

This year, the Foundation has released a series of videos that explain how gambling can affect the brain, how an addiction can develop and, most importantly, how an addiction can be overcome. For more information, visit

Anyone who is concerned about their own or someone else’s gambling is encouraged to call the 24/7 Gambler’s Help line on 1800 858 858 for free and confidential advice, support and referral.

Quote attributable to the Member for Buninyong, Michaela Settle

“We know that people experiencing gambling harm often feel a terrible stigma.  This pilot will create more opportunities for people to reach out for help – in the safe environment of your healthcare provider.  This pilot is very close to my heart as it began with a conversation with a colleague at Ballarat Community Health.  This pilot means that more people can talk, share and support.”

Quote attributable to Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation CEO Shane Lucas

“Ms Settle has played a critical role in supporting the development of this pilot. I thank her, BCH and Cafs, as Ballarat’s Gambler’s Help provider, for their commitment and expertise in to helping ensure it will be a success.”

Quote attributable to Ballarat Community Health CEO Sean Duffy

“BCH welcomes this essential addition to the scope and interventions within community health services. Gambling harm is real and evident in our community. It is imperative we as health professionals work with our clients to recognise this, and offer intervention appropriately and with compassion.”


Photo attached L-R: Sean Duffy CEO Ballarat Community Health, Michaela Settle Member for Buninyong, Deb Greenslade Research Coordinator Ballarat Community Health.

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