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Gambling Harms safer Families, Communities and Cities


 Sometime back COPEScotland with the local community explored unhelpful habits people may have and their impact not only on their own wellbeing but those who loved them. Next to issues of drugs and alcohol the other area of highest concern was gambling.

Of the 806 people involved in the survey:

  • 87% identified Gambling as an issue
  • 50% of people had direct experience of being affected by someone else's addiction
  • 56% of people could name at least one place someone could get support
  • 56% of people thought something could be done to reduce the negative impact of addiction

We then explored some other areas to try and understand what needs to change, this included:

Reasons why people won't seek help

  • Denial
  • Ashamed
  • Don't want help

Things which need to change so people will seek help

  • Information on addictions and support available
  • Better attitudes
  • More support put in place for people affected by other addiction

What needs to change to reduce the negative impact of addictions on communities?

  • Teach children early on how to avoid addiction
  • People are encouraged and supported to seek help
  • More awareness of issues that lead to addiction

Where people go for information

  • The internet
  • Speaking to someone they know e.g. friends, family,
  • Posters/leaflets

While much work has continued in different places looking at the issues of Gambling and its impact on individuals, communities, and families. COVID19 shone a light on potential increased dangers as people turned to unhelpful coping strategies as a way to manage the challenges of these uncertain times.

COPEScotland are not experts in Gambling Harms there are other supports and services including peer support groups far more experienced than we are. 

We do recognise though the impact unhelpful habits can have on people's wellbeing We are delighted at work going on at a city and national level and have begun to make links with the Health and Social Care Alliance who are keen to engage people with lived experience on issues of gambling harms as part of Scotland Reducing Gambling Harm Programme, and work being done in Glasgow. 

The Glasgow Gambling Harms Group led by Councillor Annette Christie who argues that it is time to take a public health approach to reduce gambling harms.

Sometimes for things to change requires people to champion that cause. To help raise awareness and promote support and challenge stigma. There was a time we didn't speak about suicide, now we have thousands of suicide prevention champions all over the UK, ready, willing, and able to step forward and offer a suicide first aid to someone considering killing themselves.

There was a time when we didn't talk about abuse and the impact of trauma on children. Now we have awareness of Adverse Childhood experiences and work to establish Trauma-Informed communities and champions who have attended the Solihull approach training in supporting emotional health and wellbeing in early years through to adulthood.

There was a time when we didn't focus as much as we should on alcohol harms, there are now recovery communities and more people trained in Alcohol, Brief Intervention.

There are more people and groups now wanting to raise awareness of Gambling Harms, what people can do themselves to reduce risk and who they can speak to when things have begun to spiral out of control.

COPE Scotland want to help and explore how we can connect with others who care and want to be Gambling Harms Champions, who want to make a difference to their family, community, city and country for it to be Gambling Harms safer. To help and with the voices of lived experience, we compiled a wee tips sheet on ideas which may offer some thoughts to help reduce Gambling Harms

No one group, agency, organisation, authority, government, have all the answers but collectively we can do more. We may all have different ideas on what that may look like and that's helpful as to solve a problem as complex as this does need different ideas, and areas of commonality so we can work together, joining efforts to do more than we can alone. We are delighted the Jigsaw toolkit is a resource which we can use and share to help see what diverse stakeholders view as their priorities and what actions can be taken which can help.

The wee tips sheet and some images which if people wish they can use on social media we know are a very, very small thing, but sometimes, it's the collective action of lots of us doing wee bits, finding each other and ways we combine these wee bits that bring about the biggest changes.

In our whit's happening, we have been featuring groups working on helping where Gambling Harms is an issue, another small thing we plan to do is in issue 8 we are exploring how we have Gambling Harms as a resource section in its own right and are currently mapping resources to share.

If you have any ideas of resources to include please get in touch through our contact page

"There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about."

Margaret J. Wheatley
Changing the script!
Have fun achieving what matters to you

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Useful/Emergency Contacts

  • Silverline 0800 4 70 80 90
  • Childeline 0800 1111
  • ParentLine 08000 28 22 33
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  • Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87
  • NHS 111
  • Gamblers anonymous 0370 050 8881
  • Narcotics anonymous 0300 999 1212
  • Alcoholics anonymous 0800 9177 6506
  • CALM 0800 58 58 58
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