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GambleAware Hunter New England

GambleAware Counselling

GambleAware Hunter New England is a free counselling and gambling-related support service for people who gamble, and their families and friends. You don't have to gamble to ask for help – this service is open to anyone impacted by gambling. GambleAware is funded by the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling.

Our support includes:

  • Counselling
  • Case Management and care coordination
  • Financial counselling and consultation
  • SMART recovery groups
  • Self-exclusions
  • Gambling awareness workshops
  • Financial Literacy workshops
  • Parent and Carer workshops

How do I know if gambling is a problem?

Most people gamble at one time or another. It may be on poker machines, at the TAB, online betting or on the lotteries. For many people gambling is fun, entertaining and causes no harm. However, for some people, gambling can become a problem. Gambling can be harmful for the person who gambles, their family and their friends.

If gambling is causing stress or anxiety, it might be a sign that it's a problem. Other signs that gambling is causing harm are:

  • feeling guilty, anxious or depressed about gambling
  • losing control of how much time or money is spent on gambling
  • withdrawing from family and friends
  • trying to win back losses by continuing to gamble
  • borrowing money or selling valuables to gamble
  • falling behind with bills or signing up for new credit cards
  • thinking about gambling every day
  • lying about gambling.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these signs, you can contact GambleAware Hunter New England for free confidential support and information.

Any change can be difficult and takes a lot of effort and courage. If you are considering taking the first step, we are here to help with advice and guidance throughout your journey.

GambleAware Hunter New England offers face-to-face, telehealth or video call support and can provide specialised support services for those who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and people who speak languages other than English.

If you are not ready to talk to a counsellor, you can speak to a care coordinator to help with self-exclusion, self-help resources and provide support for family and friends on what actions they can take if they are worried about a loved one's gambling. 

Contact us

You can contact GambleAware Hunter New England for more information, to self-refer, to refer a client, or to request a community engagement or education activity via:

P: 1800 497 065


W: online referral form

The Team

The GambleAware Hunter New England team consists of:

  • Client Intake Officer as the first point of contact to help identify needs and connect clients to the appropriate supports
  • Community Engagement and Care Coordinators to provide case management, brief intervention and work with the community
  • Counsellors to provide evidence-based psychological counselling
  • Financial counsellors/consultants to provide financial literacy training, skill-building and associated advocacy.

Get to know our team members below! 

Stephen Dooker - Team Leader, Gambling Counsellor, Financial Counsellor

Ever since graduating from university with a Bachelor of Psychology, Stephen Dooker has known that he wanted to do work that specialised in making a difference to those who struggle with gambling. He is proud that the GambleAware program offers an amazing opportunity for people to experience a positive wrap-around service that includes addressing their finances as well as behavioural change to make a positive impact to their lives.

Steve works with GambleAware Hunter New England because he enjoys supporting people, whether it is within his team or as part of the greater organisation of CatholicCare. In his multi-faceted role, he is faced with a variety of tasks, but it brings a number of opportunities for him to help others. He feels privileged to be working with a talented and dedicated team.

His number one tip when it comes to gambling is to ask yourself are you consciously aware of what you are doing?

“I know that sounds simple; sometimes we set ourselves on autopilot and then realise only when it is too late. Know your reasons, know your limit, and look for ways to stick to your resolve,” he explains.

When Steve is not at work, he enjoys time with friends, especially around a campfire while camping in a quiet location away from the hustle and bustle.

Tammy Mitchell - Gambling Counsellor

Tammy Mitchell is passionate about raising awareness about gambling harm and supporting people who are impacted by it. Tammy knows first-hand how it can affect people’s lives after two of her family members developed serious gambling problems. She wants to make sure that people receive the support they need.

Tammy enjoys working with our clients to help them build a better life, create a greater sense of wellbeing and satisfaction by exploring current issues, developing new insights that help them find solutions to problems, learn new skills, and set goals.  

She wants people to know that gambling is not a way to make money. Tammy is also a SMART Recovery facilitator who can run meetings and workshops, specialising in addiction and recovery.

In her spare time, Tammy loves spending time with her partner and dog, going away on adventures, reading, and watching sports or trashy reality shows on TV.

Elizabeth Ferfoglia – Gambling Counsellor

Elizabeth ‘Libby’ Ferfoglia has worked in this industry for 10 years which has given her a wealth of knowledge. Libby is proud to support families, gamblers and loved ones that require help in navigating and reducing gambling harm.

She enjoys working with GambleAware because it gives her the opportunity to meet new people and help them achieved their goals. Her number one tip when it comes to gambling is to build better roadblocks or barriers to slow down the process or action of “just going to gamble”.

She also wants people to know GambleAware is here to help.

“Sometimes people fear the unknown, they wonder what a gambling counsellor will do to them,” Libby says.

“It is important to remember we are not here to judge; you are the expert in your own life.  A gambling counsellor is here to walk alongside you and support you in making better choices in your own life.”

In her spare time, Libby loves to garden and take her very active border collie for walks.

Liz Wilson – Financial Counsellor

In her role as a Financial Counsellor, Liz Wilson is dedicated to making a positive difference in people’s lives. She is passionate about sharing her financial knowledge and experience to help her clients move forward and work through any issues they have around gambling.  

She enjoys working for GambleAware Hunter New England because it gives her an opportunity to meet and get to know new people.

Her number one gambling tip is to stay in control and stop before it becomes unstoppable.

In her spare time, Liz enjoys caring for her friends and family by cooking for them, pitching in on housework and spending time with them. She also likes to exercise and join in on park runs.

Yvonne Grass – Financial Counsellor

As one of our Financial Counsellors, Yvonne Grass is passionate about assisting individuals to overcome and work through any issues they have around gambling. She provides them with guidance and support in managing their financial circumstances and improving their overall relationship with their finances.

Yvonne finds great satisfaction in working with a supportive and dedicated team and loves knowing that her work supports others.

She encourages people to avoid gambling whenever they can.

“If you do gamble, please make sure you limit your spending and only use money that is left over after you have paid your bills and added to your savings.”

Outside of work, Yvonne enjoys connecting with nature, working on her farm, and taking her dog for walks.