GamCare and our partner network collaborate with other voluntary sector and statutory organisations to improve access into treatment for those experiencing gambling related harms, especially from traditionally underserved, at risk or ‘need-to-reach’ groups. We have been particularly active within youth support, women’s services, the criminal justice system, homelessness and employment support sectors.
We work with organisations across these areas to build understanding of gambling related harms among their frontline staff, including how it can impact their clients or service users, and to support them in creating opportunities to ask about gambling so that they can guide those affected into the appropriate treatment and support.
Frontline professionals have varying levels of time that they are able to spend with clients, and the depth of relationship between professionals and their clients also depends on the situation. Screening tools, such as the GAST-G, work very well for a lot of organisations, but less well for others as it is sometimes unrealistic to include in assessment processes. This is particularly the case for organisations working with the most complex, at risk or vulnerable cases, as they tend to deal with a range of issues and gambling must compete with other urgent priorities, often in a chaotic environment. It is also the case where time with a client is limited, such as in many primary care settings (e.g. GP surgeries).
We have therefore produced a simpler ‘starter question’, which will flag the need for a further conversation or ‘screening’. This question is:
Has your gambling or the gambling of someone close to you had a negative impact on your life?
Alongside this, we have also introduced some guidance about how to ask the question, and what a useful response would look like depending on how much time and capacity that professional has to spend supporting the client.
There is no ‘wrong door’ into treatment for problem gambling, and there are a range of free treatment and support options to suit an individual’s choice. We can support frontline professionals in any way possible to ensure that their clients can access this support seamlessly. If in any doubt, please get in touch at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.