9. How do we work more closely with the network of health and addiction organisations?

The challenge

Gambling-related harm is closely linked to mental health and addiction. And while there are many organisations that support problem gambling directly, there are even more who support mental health issues and addiction. The table discussed how to work more closely with organisations supporting mental health to better understand how to intervene and provide support before the problems become acute.

The discussion

Attendees at the event ranked the hidden nature of problem gambling as the biggest barrier to tackling the challenge – and everyone at the table agreed. So the discussion focused on how to de-stigmatise and raise awareness of the issue. It’s a critical first step in tackling both mental health issues and gambling-related harm.

An important part of this is increasing education to make everyone – friends, families, communities – more aware of the hidden nature of gambling problems. That means re-painting the picture of gambling addiction as something anyone can experience. People spoke passionately about how damaging traditional stereotypes of what a ‘problem gambler’ looks like can be, and the need to redefine these.

It also means increasing awareness in customers to help them understand what problems might look like – and even working with GPs to help them understand the same to help customers access support earlier.

Bringing these issues out into the open – with communities, customers and staff – is an important step in which everyone plays a role.

Top solutions

  • ‘Let’s talk about gambling’ – a public, awareness-raising campaign to make problem gambling less hidden and describe what safer gambling looks like
  • Re-define the unhelpful and stigmatising stereotype of gambling addicts through new communications with customers
  • Work with GPs to help them spot signs of gambling addiction when assessing patients presenting with mental health concerns