Have you ever found it hard to talk about gambling, or to seek support? You’re not alone. Worrying that they’ll be judged is one of the biggest barriers that prevents people seeking help and talking openly about their experience.
If you’re worried about how gambling is making you feel, or it’s affecting someone you care about, talking to someone can really help. So, let’s open up about gambling.
A useful starting point can be understanding if gambling is causing difficulties, by understanding the early signs of gambling harms. Things like feeling you’re spending too much time or money on gambling, or that it’s always on your mind. Maybe you’re feeling worried or guilty about your gambling, or have been keeping it a secret?
GambleAware’s short quiz can help you understand how gambling might be affecting you or someone you care about. It only takes a few minutes to complete, all answers provided are anonymous and you’ll be provided with free, tailored support.
You can find this quiz, plus other advice, tools and support on the GambleAware website.
GambleAware is the leading charity working to keep people safe from gambling harms. They offer free, confidential advice, tools and support for anyone worried about how gambling makes them feel.
Stigma is one of the biggest barriers to people identifying that gambling is having a negative impact on them and seeking help. Often they feel worried they’ll be judged by others about their experiences. By empowering people to open up about gambling harms and normalising seeking support, we want to change societal perceptions and understanding of gambling harms, to reduce the stigma surrounding it.
There are a number of ways you can support people who are experiencing gambling harms. Below is some helpful advice and guidance, as well as further support, should you, or the person you are speaking to, need it:
The first step is to start talking. The best way to start a conversation is to show empathy and reassure them that you’re not going to judge them. Try and avoid language or tones that could feel like you’re shaming or blaming the person.
GambleAware’s helpful language guide provides more advice on what language to use to help the person feel safe and speak openly. There is also a list of useful prompts and questions on their website that can help start a conversation about gambling.
There are many support services available for people who are experiencing gambling harms.
In the first instance you might like to direct them to GambleAware’s website where they can find lots of advice and tools, and they’ll be provided with free, tailored support, should they want it.
If you think someone requires more urgent support, you can direct them to the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133, where they can speak to an advisor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.