YGAM To Lead National GP Problem Gambling Initiative

The Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) has announced that it will lead a national programme to ‘deliver specialist training on gambling, gaming, and digital behavioural addictions to healthcare professionals’.

The ‘Mindful Resilience’ programme is the product of partnership between YGAM, the Responsible Gambling Council, Bournemouth University and Betknowmore UK.

As well as establishing the strategic significance of the training programme, YGAM will take responsibility for leading the partnership. In the meantime, Bournemouth University will lead the content development of the programme, assisted by the RGC as taking control of evaluations.

Betknowmore UK will complete the collaborative process and will partner with YGAM to offer recruitment and training for practitioners.

The programme will include access to evidence-led, validated training on health risks associated with gambling-related damage, digital addiction and problematic online behaviours for health care professionals in primary care networks.

YGAM CEO Lee Willows and Founder highlighted the ‘hugely positive impact’ the new initiative will have. “Gambling-related harm is a public health issue so this initiative will give healthcare practitioners the expert knowledge, support and resources they need,” he said.

“In bringing together these highly respected organisations, we can combine our resources and insight to provide an incredibly important training programme. I’m confident this new programme will complement YGAM’s existing prevention programmes and will have a hugely positive impact on the lives of individuals who seek help.”

Additionally, the initiative will facilitate signposting for patients seeking assistance to the National Treatment Network & NHS.

Dr Sarah Hodge of the University of Bournemouth, who is working on the initiative, added: “We are thrilled to be working with YGAM on this project. In this digital age young people can be vulnerable to digital related harms, such as through activities related to their gaming and gambling.

“This is a really exciting project to support the awareness and the communication of these potential harms facing young people to practitioners through co-creating workshop materials as well as developing the concept of digital resilience.”

Initially, the initiative will be rolled out in London before being extended in 2021 to the West Midlands, with proposals for a possible national launch in 2022.

CEO and Founder of Betknowmore Frankie Graham said: “Betknowmore UK has pioneered working closely with local communities, and in doing so, we understand the role that health and community services can play in addressing gambling-related harm.

“It is quite right that healthcare professionals have enhanced understanding and recognition of gambling harms, and the tools to engage positively and authentically with individuals who may present with gambling issues.”

Dr Sasha Stark, a senior researcher with the RGC, talked about the role of the organisation in Mindful Resilience’s training programme. Stark concluded: “RGC will lead the evaluation of the Mindful Resilience training programme, providing an independent assessment of the programme’s delivery and impact among participating health care professionals.

“We look forward to working alongside leaders in the prevention and education space in the UK to increase health care professionals’ awareness of and skills for identifying problematic gambling and other digital behaviours.

“Limited information is available to primary care professionals on gambling-related harms and we believe this initiative will both support practitioners in their work and increase access to support for a large number of patients experiencing harm.”