The gambling support charity GamCare has partnered up with The Samaritans in order to create bespoke training to bring awareness, and help prevent, gambling related suicide. This will be provided to those working in the gambling industry in order to support those in need. 

There are nearly 1.4 million people in the UK who are considered “problem gamblers”, or have a gambling addiction. 

The isolation and loneliness felt during the current covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this situation. Research by GambleAware found that those who are addicted to gambling are prone to mental health issues and are 6 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies. 

This elevated risk remains even when accounting for other factors that could contribute towards suicidal thoughts such as depression, substance abuse, and financial problems. There is an urgent need for support for those struggling with their mental health due to gambling addiction. 

Training Created to Help Reduce Gambling-related Suicide

Although there is some support out there for those struggling with their mental health and a gambling addiction, it has been extremely lacking. Only 2% of gambling addicts have been able to get the help and support needed compared to 15-20% of those with alcohol and drug addictions. 

This brand new bespoke training that gambling support charity GamCare, along with the leading suicide prevention charity, Samaritans, have recently launched will hopefully change this ever-growing problem for the better. 

The two charities have developed specific training for the gambling industry which includes free e-learning and practical guidelines as well as face-to-face training for those who work within the sector. The aim is to reduce gambling-related suicide and to bring awareness to its existence. The training also gives staff the knowledge on how to better identify someone who is struggling and how to help them. The two charities have used their knowledge and expertise to identify some of the changes that need to be made within the industry in order to do this.This is the first bespoke training that has been created for a specific industry and is a massive step towards making the industry a much safer place for all involved and helping those that may be struggling. 

GamCare CEO, Anna Hemmings, has commented on the launch of the new training saying, “Pairing our experience and expertise of training the gambling industry and treating gambling harms with Samaritans’ expertise in suicide prevention will make a real difference to those most at risk. With the isolation of lockdown exacerbating gambling harms for some people,  it is more important than ever that our support services unite”. 

Training Created to Help Reduce Gambling-related Suicide

The bespoke training will hopefully bring to light just how dangerous battling a gambling addiction can be and how seriously we need to be taking it. Considering gambling disorder was classified as equivalent to a drug and alcohol addiction in 2013, this supportive training is a long time coming. 

Although not much has been done previously to support those who are suffering with their mental health due to a gambling disorder, the Gambling With Lives charity has been working tirelessly to help those who are struggling. 

Charles and Liz Ritchie founded the charity after their son Jack, 24, took his life after becoming addicted to gambling, along with other families and friends of young people who had done the same. The charity seeks tougher action from the government to protect vulnerable addicts and to be held liable for those who have taken their lives due to this addiction. The Ritchies are also calling for a ban on gambling advertising, especially the marketing emails that are sent by companies offering “free” bets. The deaths of those close to the people involved in the charity were sudden and with no warning and this goes to show how much this issue needs to be tackled. Thankfully, we are one step closer with the new training by GamCare and the Samaritans. 

This new training is a welcome and positive move towards helping so many people. It will hopefully safeguard those who are in danger of spiralling towards poor mental health and a lethal gambling addiction instead of experiencing the safe and enjoyable experience that it should be!

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Lara is a Social Sciences student at UCL with interests in gender studies, childhood & education and social activism. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism following her studies.

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