On 29 May, our PEACE Multicultural Services held a ‘Have Your Say Day’, inviting culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community members to have a say about the issues that can affect the health and wellbeing of their communities.
Over 100 people attended the event representing a number of Asian, African and Middle Eastern communities in South Australia. The day was officially opened by the Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon. Zoe Bettison.
“Today offers an opportunity to ‘have your say!’ So speak up, debate, and challenge each other. Help to bring about a positive change for the future of your communities,” Ms Bettison said.
Ms Bettison spoke about the prevalence of problem gambling in CALD communities and the importance of community feedback in developing the first ever state action plan to better address the issues impacting these communities.
“We’re here to today to talk about services for CALD communities and how they can be improved. Gambling has become a part of Australian culture, as has alcohol,” said Ms Bettison. “If it becomes a problem, we’re here to help.”
Sharna Ciotti, Team Leader of PEACE Multicultural Services spoke about the stigma that surrounds problem gambling in many CALD communities, and how that prevents people from getting the help they need.
“One of the biggest issues where stigma is involved in CALD communities is problem gambling. People are more likely to seek help for a problem drugs and alcohol than gambling. This is why we chose problem gambling as the focus of today, we felt that if we can address such a highly stigmatised issue, we can address anything,” Ms Ciotti said.
Ms Ciotti was followed by Sonia, a Consumer Voice Speaker who spoke about her own experience with problem gambling, the stigma she experienced as a member of the Arabic speaking Australian community, and her own journey to recovery.
The event was wrapped up with a series of workshops where those in attendance were encouraged to discuss the ways stigma could be addressed within their communities. All feedback and ideas collected at the event will be used to contribute to the state action plan.