With an ever-increasing spotlight on addiction and mental health issues shining on the UK’s schools as they return for the new term, a leading gambling harm minimisation consultancy is teaming up with new partners for a self-funded independent programme to reinforce the importance of education, awareness, and prevention surrounding gambling-related harm.
In a first-of-its-kind development, EPIC Risk Management have teamed up with addiction and mental health practitioners WHYSUP and one of the UK’s most respected independent providers of mental health training, Teen Tips, to create the holistic, fully evaluated, Gambling Harm Education Programme, which will be delivered to students aged 15 to 18 at 200 secondary schools and colleges during the 2021/22 academic year.
Around 500,000 children aged 11 to 16 are thought to gamble every week in this country and 87% of young people in the UK play online games every day, highlighting the importance of bringing a sensitive and often secret topic into open discussion. This is especially pertinent as a topic of concern for the new academic year in light of reports suggesting that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has increased levels of participation in online gambling and gaming, as well as creating a marked rise in mental health concerns among children.
Founder and CEO of EPIC Risk Management Paul Buck commented “The education of our next generation is crucial and EPIC have now worked directly with over 100,000 children aged 14+ directly since 2018. Sharing lived experience, in a professional and engaging manner, is the best way to raise awareness to the next generation of the potential harms of gambling, gaming and new threats such as cryptocurrency and esports. The same as drugs, alcohol, stranger danger and sex, we must educate our next generation around the risks they will encounter growing up.
“There is an undisputed link between mental health and addiction, so it makes perfect sense for us to provide a rounded offering explaining how the various elements affect one another. We are proud to partner with WHYSUP and Teen Tips to ensure that our education is holistic, covers a wider curriculum and raises awareness of the dangers rather than place all the responsibility at the individual’s door. Our programme will be fully, and independently, evaluated.
“By involving the care providers too – parents, guardians and teachers – we’re helping everyone to recognise the tell-tale signs of addiction or a mental health issue that could lead to problems down the line, allowing treatment or mental health services to be sourced before serious problems arise.
“We will be working hand in hand with the school wellbeing and safeguarding officers and we believe that this programme will prevent many families and individuals from being harmed in the future if they’re alerted to why this is such a vital temptation to avoid.”