A foundation set up by the families and friends of young people in the UK who had taken their own lives as a direct result of gambling announced the launch of a new youth education program.
Ground-Breaking Youth Education Program
Gambling with Lives‘ new ground-breaking youth educational program launched at an event in London today and is aimed to educate young people about gambling harm and is set to be piloted at schools in Essex, Manchester and Northern Ireland before a full rollout in the region.
Developed by gambling harm experts in collaboration with academics, teachers, filmmakers and people who had directly suffered from problem gambling, the program also seeks to address currently available information related to gambling awareness and the way it is delivered to young people to fill the gaps and possibly save lives.
According to research, there are between 250 to 650 suicides in the UK per year related to gambling, as people experiencing gambling harm are 15 times more susceptible to taking their lives compared to the rest of the public, besides experiencing lower lifestyles. Data also shows evidence that 1.2 million adults and 55,000 children in the country show signs of gambling addictions.
What makes this programme unique is that it includes the role of addictive products and predatory marketing in causing harm. We can protect the young by giving them information that is unbiased and evidence based – raising awareness of how addiction occurs is better than just waiting for it to develop. But education is not enough – we need real change to regulation and enforcement to protect the public.”James Grimes, Head of Education, Gambling with Lives
Based on solid published research related to raising awareness for other addictive products like drugs, tobacco and alcohol, the education program is primarily focused on the level of addiction involved in gambling products. It highlights the role of industry marketing in exploiting these product features, a trait which clearly distinguishes it from other industry-funded similar initiatives. The program also provides a basic understanding of gambling concepts like odds, risk and “house edge.”
Set up by people who had suffered from the loss of loved ones, Gambling with Lives also calls for better industry regulation of gambling products and for gambling to be treated as a public health issue.