Problem gambling, particularly for women, is something not often talked about in regional areas.
This International Women’s Day, Soroptimist International Cootamundra is lifting the lid on this silent saga securing Hope Project founder Kate Seselja to speak at a dinner on Wednesday, March 8 to be held at the Cootamundra Country Club.
The core belief of the Hope Project is in proactive prevention education via a sustainable mental health initiative, AWAKE.
AWAKE provides a framework of how to live a mentally healthy and sustainable life. It is a toolkit for both prevention and restoration.
The group raises awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and links people and services to create positive change.
Mrs Seselja speaks to many people affected by problem gambling.
She said many people who have put their hand up for help have not had their cry for assistance met in an appropriate way.
“When the person still doesn't understand what's going on and they relapse, it just removes hope from a person,” Mrs Seselja said.
She said parents need to be aware of what their children are doing online as gambling makes its way into households.
“Awareness of exposure via mobile devices to children via direct marketing and subtle exposure through kids game features is all grooming tomorrows addicts,” Mrs Seselja said.
On the surface Mrs Seselja is an everyday woman, however for nearly 13 years she struggled in her life.
A wife and mother of six, on the surface she lived a happy and fulfilled life, but underneath Mrs Seselja was fighting a fierce battle against herself, struggling with a gambling addiction.
Mrs Seselja found herself at rock bottom when she was on the verge of taking her own life in 2012, because her guilt and shame had become too much.
“Every single community on the planet is hurting and struggling in some way, shape or form yet we rarely talk about it other than highlight problems; this only helps to isolate those experiencing it further,” she said.
Mrs Seselja was invited to speak by Cootamundra’s Kerry Byrne, with the two women having known eachother for more than eight years.
Tickets to the dinner are $35 and available at Braybrooks Pharmacy.