Auckland, July 18, 2018
Harmful gambling has become a major public health issue for the Indian community living in New Zealand, adversely affecting the physical, mental and social wellbeing of people and those around them.
In response to an increase in demand from people with an Indian background, we established ASHA, Asian Family Services’ gambling support service for South Asians living in New Zealand.
Free and Confidential
ASHA, meaning ‘hope’ in Hindi, provides free and completely confidential support for anyone struggling with problem gambling and for people who are affected by someone else’s gambling, such as a friend or partner.
Do I need to have a certain type of visa to access the service?
We are funded by the Health Ministry and our gambling support services are free to anyone regardless of their visa status. Whether you are on a student visa, work visa or a New Zealand resident visa, you are equally entitled to access our services.
Counselling helps people to understand the driving factors behind their gambling behaviour and increases understanding about what triggers their gambling.
Counselling is a private and confidential process. You talk in confidence with an experienced, qualified professional who will work with you to help you find ways of coping that are helpful and lasting.
The First Appointment
The first appointment is usually between one hour to one and half-hours.
At this appointment, you and your counsellor will talk confidentially and find out how you can best work together.
At your first appointment, you will be asked to fill out some questionnaires, which give the counsellor an idea of how things are going for you. The information from the questionnaires will be treated as confidential.
If you have never been to counselling before, it is not unusual to feel anxious before the first meeting. You are welcome to bring a support person along with you to your counselling sessions.
For many people, the most helpful thing about counselling is to have someone they can trust to talk to about things that concern them.
Counsellors and Sessions
People often ask how long they will need to come to counselling but this varies from person to person. You can have as many counselling sessions as you need and your counsellor will help guide you with this decision.
You will see one of our clinical team at ASHA who are all tertiary qualified and maintain professional memberships. They completely understand the importance of the privacy and confidentiality process.
ASHA counsellors speak Hindi and Punjabi fluently and we are able to arrange interpreters for other South Asian languages if required.
The ASHA Helpline is a phone service that provides free and confidential support for anyone who wants to talk to someone about their own gambling or someone else’s gambling. Callers can choose whether they reveal their name if they are concerned about their privacy.
The ASHA Helpline number is 0800-862342.
ASHA is here to help and give you hope.
We know that there are many barriers that can stop someone from getting help with a gambling problem.
This includes feeling of shame about what others will think, being worried about losing face in society, and the stigma associated with seeking help for a mental health problem or an addiction.
Often people do not know where to get help, have difficulty accessing services or hold negative beliefs about western treatment model.
But talking to someone really makes a difference.
Paras Arora is Counsellor and Health Promoter at Asian Family Services based in Grafton, Auckland.
The images and charts appearing here have been taken from Asian Family Services and Problem Gambling Foundation websites.