Males can have too much pride to speak up and admit they have a gambling problem, which could delay the process of seeking help, a scenario Rugby League legend Nathan Hindmarsh is all too familiar with.
His own gambling problem was dictating his life and, while he tried to stop on numerous occasions, he continued to gamble.
He was too embarrassed to go public with his problem, which prevented him from truly addressing his issues for nearly five years until he found the courage to admit his issues.
Now past his gambling problems, Hindmarsh travels the state as an ambassador for Clubs New South Wales, to help educate and provide support and guidance to those who may be affected by gambling.
In conjunction with ClubSAFE, the ex Parramatta and Wallabies superstar held a conference on Wednesday at the South Tweed Bowls Club to tackle gambling and social issues in the indigenous community.
The Clubs NSW program aimed to provide an environment for people to open up and address their gambling issues.
Hindmarsh said it could be difficult to get people to come forward and admit they had a problem, but rugby league and his profile helped to break down the barriers.
“We use rugby league to break things down, and being a former league player helps breaking down the awkwardness (for people to come forward),” Hindmarsh said.
“Sometimes it takes a while to get people to come forward but, once they do, they start opening up.”
As part of opening up, the program encourages an open forum, to allow people to also share their stories and to seek advice from Hindmarsh.
“We’re not going to change communities overnight but, if you can change the mindset of one to two or three to four people, attitudes can change,” Hindmarsh said.
“It can snowball and people start thinking about it.”
Harry Beckers, from Warruwi Gambling Help, who hosted Hindmarsh and ClubSAFE for the Tweed conference, said all forms of gambling were an issue within the Indigenous community.
He said Warruwi aimed to raise awareness about the gambling issues and to let people know there were services and support available if they were willing to come forward and seek help.
ClubSAFE manager Rowan Cameron, who runs the program across the state said that Hindmarsh’s gambling history, combined with his significant identity, was really connecting with the Indigenous community.
“League is like a religion in the Indigenous community and arriving in towns with Nathan hosting, you can really achieve a lot,” Cameron said.
He said that Hindmarsh sharing his story of how he got out of of gambling, was crucial to the program.
Warruwi gambling HELP’s motto was for people to have a yarn and if you would like further information, need support, or access to services, call 1800 752 948.