The Risks of Gambling are Still Misunderstood
Gambling prevention and treatment programmes are commissioned by an independent UK charity. As gambling levels recovered to pre-pandemic levels, GambleAware warned the public that an estimated 1.4 million people are suffering from gaming-related problems.GambleAware is sounding the alarm as it launches a public awareness campaign to raise public knowledge of the National Gaming Therapy Service’s treatment and assistance for people who have been harmed by gambling (NGTS). To combat myths and stigma around gambling and gambling harm, the charity is collaborating with prominent experts and powerful voices.
“Despite affecting a large number of people, gambling harms are often poorly understood and under-reported,” said GambleAware advisor Dr. Hillary Jones, “partially because the impact harmful gambling can have on people’s lives is incredibly varied, complex, and too often hidden.” Those experiencing gambling harm may be “struggling with a number of consequences” ranging from financial debt to mental and physical health.
In collaboration with the NHS and other organisations, the NGTS was successful in offering free, confidential support via telephone, website, face-to-face, group, and residential therapy, with 92 percent of individuals who finished treatment exhibiting evidence of progress.
Around 8,500 adults in the UK received help from the NGTS in 2021 alone, but statistics from GambleAware reveal that for every person treated, nearly 160 others do not receive the care they require.”The National Gambling Treatment Service has been working in partnership with the NHS and other organisations for many years to provide free, confidential support that is effective and easy to access,” said Zo Osmond, CEO of GambleAware, noting that over 200,000 people have received help in the last six years, but “there are many more out there who also need help.”
“Our message to anyone struggling or worried about their loved ones is that you are not alone. If gambling is taking up too much of your life, call the helpline or use the online chat, both available 24/7, and speak to an expert today.”Zoë Osmond, CEO, GambleAware
Barriers and Motivational Factors
The alarming figures come from YouGov’s Annual GB Treatment & Support Survey 2021, which was conducted between November 18 and December 14. The survey’s participants were chosen from a panel of over 1,000,000 adults in the United Kingdom, and it gives the most up-to-date information on the scope of gambling harms, including the number of people affected by someone else’s gambling and the barriers or motives for seeking help.
The campaign is being launched by GambleAware after a poll revealed that knowing where to obtain help was the most important motivator for those experiencing gambling damage to seek treatment, according to 27 percent of respondents.
The attitudes and perceptions of loved ones are another aspect that can impact a person’s decision to seek help or not: Speaking with a spouse or family member was a crucial motivator for 19 percent of those experiencing gambling harm, while the fear of others finding out about their gambling problems was the strongest obstacle for 24 percent.
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