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The Shadow Minister for Mental Health is supporting a new training programme launched in London to address a lack of knowledge and confidence amongst health professionals in diagnosing children and young people with gaming and gambling addictions.
The ‘Mindful Resilience’ programme has been established by an alliance of expert organisations including Bournemouth University and leading charities, the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) and Betknowmore UK. The training content has been developed by specialists bringing together insight from academics, psychologists, medical professionals and those with lived experience of gaming and gambling-related harms.
This comes after a 2019 report into gambling-related suicide published by the Gambling Commission highlighted the need for greater awareness among GPs and other primary care and frontline service providers. The programme will promote signposting to the National Treatment Network & NHS for patients needing support.
Speaking about the launch of the programme’s pilot in London, Dr Allin-Khan MP, herself a London-based medical doctor, said: “The Mindful Resilience Programme is a pioneering initiative, aiming to address the gaps in existing support available to health care professionals working with young people living with gambling addictions. It is vital that we work proactively to tackle these addictions and support those affected. And the first step is ensuring that our health professionals have the knowledge and confidence to offer young people, struggling with these challenges, the support they need.”
Dr Sarah Hodge, a Cyberpsychologist at Bournemouth University, has worked to develop the training programme alongside YGAM and BetKnowMore UK. Dr Hodge spoke of the need for such a programme; “It was becoming increasingly clear to those of us who have studied and worked with gaming and gambling-related harms, that the health sector was lacking in the knowledge and confidence to identify risks and appropriately signpost young people and their families. Both charities are aware of the scale of the issue and it’s a natural progression for them to work with academics like myself to develop and provide training to those health professionals who need support.”