Information for Clients
We hope to make your contact with Gambler’s Help Southern as a smooth as possible. The following information may be useful for people who:
- have contacted us for the first time
- have re-contacted us after a period time
- are thinking about contacting or re-contacting us.
Frequently asked questions
- Who will I be speaking to?
- What happens with phone messages?
- What happens at Intake?
- How soon can I get an appointment?
- What do I do for the first appointment?
- What if I can’t attend an appointment?
Your first contact with Gambler’s Help Southern is likely to be with our Intake Service on 9575 5353. You may have contacted us directly, or been referred to us by Gambler’s Helpline or another health or welfare professional. The Intake Service operates between 9.30 am – 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday.
Our Intake Workers are counsellors who have days dedicated to Intake. They also have other days dedicated to face-to-face counselling.
If the Intake Worker is unable to answer the phone, you will be directed to the voicemail system and asked to leave a message.
The Intake Service voicemail system is only accessed by Gambler’s Help Southern staff. To receive a call back, please leave your name, preferred telephone number and a brief message about the reason for your call.
If you can only receive calls at certain times, mention this in your message. However, please note that our Intake Service:
- operates 9.30 am – 4.30 pm, weekdays
- cannot guarantee a call-back at a prescribed time due to the number of incoming and outgoing calls
- will attempt to call back at least three times.
If you have limited or no capacity to receive return calls from us, please let us know – we encourage you to call us again at another time.
Our Intake Workers are mindful of callers’ privacy and are discrete when returning calls.
For example, if someone other than you answers the phone, or if there is a message system, the Intake Worker will not disclose that they are calling from Gambler’s Help Southern.
e.g. “This is Anne, returning John Wood’s call. Please call back on 9575 5353.”
If you need support outside of our Intake Service hours, you can freecall Gambler’s Helpline on 1800 858 858 or visit www.gamblinghelponline.org.au
Intake is the central telephone contact point for Gambler’s Help Southern. Our Intake Workers speak to all new clients, or clients who are re-contacting us, to determine which support services are most appropriate.
They also respond to queries from health and community sector workers or direct them to the appropriate Gambler’s Help Southern service.
The Intake Worker will ask you questions about your situation and collect details which help us to create a Client Record. This information is confidential and may include:
- Your reasons for requiring service
- Past and present personal history
- Current and past risk issues
Click here to view more information about privacy and protection of your health and financial information, or ask our Intake Workers about this directly.
The Intake Worker will also provide you with information about arranging your first appointment.
If your situation also involves immediate crisis (e.g. high risk of self-harm, homelessness), the Intake process may involve facilitating your referral to another service provider that can address those issues. Assistance with gambling-related issues is best provided once priority needs have been met.
The intake call generally takes about 30 minutes, but may be longer if more complex issues need to be discussed.
Gambler's Help Southern operates from numerous locations across the southern metropolitan region. The days and hours of operation at these locations vary, as do the waiting times.
An earlier first appointment may be available if you can be flexible about the time and/or location of the appointment. Information about arranging your first appointment is provided when you speak to our Intake Service.
To assist people who work to use personal leave/sick leave from their employer, Gambler's Help Southern staff based in health services can provide you with a “notice of attendance” for appointments.
These notices are on the letterhead of the health service where you attend the appointment (not Gambler’s Help Southern letterhead) and include the name and role of the Gambler’s Help Southern worker (e.g. Counsellor, Financial Counsellor). Workplace leave entitlements vary, so please check with your employer.
Gambler’s Help Southern shares regional boundaries with Gambler’s Help City, Gambler’s Help Eastern and Gambler’s Help Gippsland. For locations and hours of operation, contact these regional services directly.
You should allow 1½ hours for the first appointment (subsequent sessions are usually 1 hour long).
For financial counselling appointments, please bring all relevant documents with you, such as:
- Loan contracts
- Debt statements, demands and bills
- Letters from creditors
- Details of social security and/or income from all sources.
When you arrive for your appointment, go to reception and tell the receptionist your name, the name of worker you will be seeing and the appointment time.
(e.g. I’m Jane Smith. I have an appointment with Peter Wilson at 2 pm).
Reception will inform the Gambler’s Help Southern worker, who will come to meet you.
At the first appointment, the Counsellor or Financial Counsellor will also:
- provide you with information about your rights and responsibilities when receiving our services.
- provide you with information about privacy and protection of your health and financial information
- seek your consent to collect and use your financial and health information in order to provide you with services.
We understand that sometimes things happen that make missing an appointment unavoidable. When this happens, we ask that you let us know as soon as possible.
Please contact the relevant Gambler’s Help Southern worker directly to cancel and reschedule an appointment.
If you are having difficulty in rescheduling an appointment, please contact our Intake Service on 9575 5353.