Independent UK charity commissioning gambling prevention and treatment services GambleAware alerted the public that an estimated 1.4 million people suffer from harms related to gambling as gambling levels returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Gambling Harm Still Misunderstood
GambleAware is ringing the alarm as it launches a campaign to raise public awareness of the treatment and support available for those experiencing gambling harm, available through the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS). The charity is partnering with leading experts and influential voices to challenge misconceptions and stigma around gambling and gambling harm.
“Despite impacting a significant 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,” she continued, noting that those experiencing gambling harm may be “struggling with a number of consequences” spanning beyond financial debt such as mental and physical health.
The NGTS proved to be successful in providing free, confidential support through telephone, website, face-to-face, group and residential therapy, in partnership with the NHS and other organizations, with 92% of those who have completed treatment showing signs of improvement.
In 2021 alone, around 8,500 adults in the UK received help from the NGTS but GambleAware’s statistics show that for each person treated, there are nearly 160 others who do not get the help they need.
“For many years, the National Gambling Treatment Service has been working in partnership with the NHS and other organizations, to provide free, confidential support that is effective and easy to access,” said Zoë Osmond, CEO of GambleAware, outlining that over the past six years over 200,000 people received help, yet “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
Key Motivational Factors and Barriers
The worrying data comes from the Annual GB Treatment & Support Survey 2021 carried out between November 18 and December 14 by YouGov. Participants in the survey were drawn out from a panel of over 1,000,000 adults in the UK, and the survey provides the latest evidence on the scale of gambling harms, including the number of people affected by someone else’s gambling, as well as the barriers or motivations for accessing help.
GambleAware is launching the campaign as the survey showed that simply knowing where to find support was the key motivational factor for those experiencing gambling harm to seek help as pointed by 27% of respondents.
Another factor that can influence someone’s decision whether to seek help or not is the attitudes and perceptions of loved ones: 19% of respondents experiencing gambling harm found speaking with a partner or a family member an important motivational factor, while 24% identify the fact that others will find out about their gambling problems as the biggest barrier.