Gambling harms affect around 1 in 10 people in the UK
This is quite a shocking statistic, and is one of the many reasons why gambling is now considered to be a serious public health issue in the UK. It also means that most people know at least one person wo is affected by their own, or someone else’s, gambling.
But despite this, it is estimated that only around 5% of UK businesses have a gambling at work policy compared with 85% that have a drink and drugs policy. Without the protection of a supportive policy in place, many people fear the ramifications of coming forward to disclose that they are experiencing gambling harms, even in organisations that place wellbeing at the very heart of their strategy and culture.
Gambling can have a truly devastating impact on all aspects of an individual’s wellbeing, from their mental and physical health through to their financial wellbeing. The harms from gambling can also extend to the people around them, including their loved ones and friends or their work colleagues and supervisor; these are referred to as ‘affected others’.
All of the businesses within the Essex Working Well community are passionately committed to employee wellbeing. Some of you may even have a gambling policy already. But all of you would benefit enormously for coming to an upcoming Lived Experience session with Colin Bland from the gambling support charity, Betknowmore UK.
A former police officer with 17 years’ service, Colin battled a gambling addiction from the age of 13 to 40 years old. During this time, he lost relationships, personal and professional opportunities, time and of course money. Ever since finding recovery, Colin has dedicated himself to raising awareness of this hidden addiction by sharing his lived experience. His story helps encourage empathy and increase understanding of the risks, triggers and impacts of gambling harms whilst simultaneously highlighting the numerous support services that are available from Betknowmore UK and other organisations across the country.
In this lived experience session, Colin will not only share his story but will also allow time to answer any questions that you may have. It is important to consider your own wellbeing as this session will address themes that could be triggering for some. But it is designed to provide a crucial insight into gambling that may well enable you to better support people in your organisation whose wellbeing concerns are rooted in gambling. If, in the meantime, you or someone you know needs support with gambling, please contact the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 for completely free and confidential help.