The Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) has launched a training programme designed to equip healthcare professionals with the necessary experience to help problem gamblers.

This new scheme, known as the Mindful Resilience Programme, has been developed in collaboration with Bournemouth University – as well as Betknowmore UK and the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC).

Initially beginning in London, the scheme will extend to the West Midlands next year and then be rolled out on a national basis in 2022.

The new scheme follows on from YGAM’s other launched initiatives this year, such as the Parent Hub.

“We understand the role that health and community services can play in addressing gambling-related harm” 

According to YGAM, one big reason for creating the scheme was the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)’s report last year which looked into gambling-related suicide. In this, the commission suggested that a higher level of awareness was needed amongst GPs and other healthcare providers. 

The report discovered that 5% of individuals who attempted to take their own lives in 2018 were problem gamblers. Moreover, a further 5% had been in the ‘at risk’ category. Analysis from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey was used for these findings. 

When talking about the YGAM scheme, Betknowmore Chief Executive and Founder Frankie Graham said: 

“Betknowmore UK has pioneered working closely with local communities, and in doing so, we understand the role that health and community services can play in addressing gambling-related harm.

“It is quite right that healthcare professionals have enhanced understanding and recognition of gambling harms and the tools to engage positively and authentically with individuals who may present with gambling issues.” 

“A really exciting project” 

Dr Sarah Hodge, who teaches psychology at Bournemouth University, expressed her excitement at having the opportunity to protect individuals in the UK from the potential risks that gambling poses. 

“We are thrilled to be working with YGAM on this project. In this digital age, young people can be vulnerable to digital-related harms, such as through activities related to their gaming and gambling. 

“This is a really exciting project to support the awareness and the communication of these potential harms facing young people to practitioners through co-creating workshop materials as well as developing the concept of digital resilience.”

Continuing to build awareness around responsible gambling in the UK 

YGAM’s Mindful Resilience Programme will be assessed by the RGC, based in Canada. This organisation will be responsible for determining which aspects are going well, as well as those where improvement is needed. 

Senior Researcher Sasha Clark also spoke about the programme and how she feels it will assist healthcare workers to provide support for individuals affected by gambling. 

“We look forward to working alongside leaders in the prevention and education space in the UK to increase health care professionals’ awareness of and skills for identifying problematic gambling and other digital behaviours. 

“Limited information is available to primary care professionals on gambling-related harms and we believe this initiative will both support practitioners in their work and increase access to support for a large number of patients experiencing harm.”