Is gambling an issue for young people?
International evidence consistently indicates that young people are disproportionately at risk of developing problems with gambling, as well as being harmed by problematic gambling in their family or friends circle. Despite this, very few under 18’s use GamCare’s support or treatment services, which indicates that there is a gap to be bridged with education and awareness.
The most common types of gambling for young people to participate in are fruit machines, the lottery, scratch cards, as well as making bets or playing cards with friends, with either cash or other items at stake.
How are GamCare helping to support young people?
GamCare is the leading source of information, advice and support for anyone affected by problem gambling. We have extensive experience of helping both problem gamblers as well as their friends and family members who are affected by the issue, and a broad range of expertise, knowledge and experience in problem gambling treatment.
This year we conducted research to help us better understand:
- Young people’s awareness and understanding of, and attitudes towards, gambling;
- How aware young people are of the risks associated with gambling and/or harmful impacts of problem gambling;
- What sources of information and support young people were aware of, and which they were likely to use
Following this research, GamCare has worked with our Partner agencies across multiple areas of the UK to create a ‘theory of change’ model to frame our work with young people aged 12-18. This model identifies four areas where work is needed in order to minimise gambling-related harm experienced by young people:
- Education - Raising awareness of problem gambling amongst young people themselves, as well as key individuals working in the youth sector
- Advice – Providing advice and support to young people affected by problem gambling or at-risk, in engaging and interactive formats
- Treatment - Providing treatment to young people affected by problem gambling, or impacted by someone else’s gambling
- Communication – Evaluating our work and communicating our knowledge of problem gambling and young people
The foundation of our work with young people is our Youth Outreach Programme. This is an expansion of the work we conducted in Bristol with our partner, ARA, into three new regions of the UK. Our ‘youth hubs’ will be in Bristol, Birmingham and the North West (covering Manchester and Liverpool) as well as London.
These youth hubs will fund youth outreach workers to provide free of charge gambling awareness workshops directly to young people, as well as training for youth professionals in their local areas. We will provide materials and screening tools to assist local youth services and teachers in identifying young people at risk. Each youth hub will be able to provide referrals to our specialist treatment for young people who are experiencing or vulnerable to gambling-related harm.
Through our Youth Outreach Programme we aim to:
- Enable young people to access honest, accurate and relevant information about gambling and problematic gambling;
- Enable young people to make informed choices about gambling;
- Ensure professionals are aware of the impacts, signs and symptoms of a gambling problem;
- Enable professionals to interact with young people sensitively about problem gambling;
- Ensure that young people and professionals know where to go for free, specialist help and support if they need it.
If you are a professional working with young people aged 12-18 in one of the locations mentioned and would like free training from GamCare, register your interest here.
What's the BigDeal?
GamCare sponsor BigDeal.org.uk - a dedicated website for young people aged 12-18 providing information regarding risk and responsible gambling, plus advice and support around problem gambling - either for themselves or a friend or family member.
For more information you can download our leaflet about Gambling & Youth.
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