GamCare finds insufficient support for problem gambling at the workplace

GamCare finds insufficient support for problem gambling at the workplace

GamCare finds insufficient support for problem gambling at the workplace
De-stigmatizing problem gambling is both challenging and demanding. Yet, some of the efforts could start right in the workspace, argues GamCare, an organization that has been championing awareness for problem gambling over the past nearly 25 years. According to a recent YouGov research that surveyed 5,000 adults, only one in 10 or 9% said that they felt that their workplace policies actually covered or created a comfort zone for people impacted by gambling. Problem gambling is a mental health issue This number pales in comparison with the people who are offered help for mental-related issues, some 47% of respondents, according to the survey. Employers are also offering support for drug and alcohol misuse at 15% and 17% of the cases respectively, with problem gambling bringing up the rear. Yet, according to Public Health England, at least 1.6m people in the United Kingdom are struggling with some form of gambling addiction, which means that more efforts need to be made to ensure that these people have the resources they need to overcome the problem available to them. Far more importantly, gambling is still more stigmatized than other types of addiction and self-abuse. For example, only three in 10 or 28% of all respondents who partook in the poll said that they would feel comfortable sharing their struggles with gambling with their employer. There is a perceived stigma about the activity, perhaps because it involves money or could make one be perceived unfit for business, it seems. Yet, people who struggle with gambling addiction are actually far more likely to tell friends or family about their problems. GamCare Head of Remote Support Services Samantha Turton has commented on the results and argued that gambling is often described as the “hidden addiction,” precisely because it’s harder to be detected than other festering issues such as drinking or drug use. This has to do with the fact that the victims feel reluctant to confide in other people or seek professional help. However, there have been some significant efforts to change this. “Last year we saw steps for more GPs to ask questions from patients about gambling, which is an important step forward. We believe workplaces could be the next place to create more awareness about gambling and could be a win-win for organisations and staff, with people feeling more supported and engaged at work, and organisations benefitting from a happier, healthier workforce,”Turton noted. This can be overcome, however, now that the problem is well known. Betknowmore, which is a company specializing in offering in-company treatment on problem gambling, and others like it are among the possible solutions. Betknowmore Operations and Business Development Lead Katy Wilson was similarly adamant that employees should have the opportunity to disclose their problems in a safe environment, the existence of which could be the difference between ruination and getting one’s life back on track. Prevention and early treatment are touted as the go-to and most cost-efficient solutions for problem gambling, but for those to kick off, people would have to learn how to impart to more people about their problems and be met with understanding. Image credit: Unsplash.com

10 JUN 2024

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