Wigan firm's gambling harm course for school and college students
With an ever-increasing spotlight on addiction and mental health issues shining on UK schools, a Wigan-based consultancy is launching a programme to raise awareness about gambling-related harm.
EPIC Risk Management of Appley Bridge has teamed up with addiction and mental health practitioners WHYSUP and independent providers of mental health training, Teen Tips, to create the Gambling Harm Education Programme.
It will be delivered to students aged 15 to 18 at 200 secondary schools and colleges during 2021/22.
Around 500,000 children aged 11 to 16 are thought to gamble every week in this country and 87 per cent 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 Covid-19 pandemic restrictions have increased levels of participation in online gambling and gaming, as well as creating a marked rise in mental health concerns among children.
Also catering to parents and teachers, this new programme will involve a combination of online webinars and video content alongside face-to-face delivery.
The sessions will be offered to state schools, with the aim of increasing awareness around gambling harm in order to identify and mitigate the risks that problem gambling can create.
It will cover subject areas such as industry practice including advertising, differing product risk profiles, pathways of support and how to identify the signs of harm in yourself and your classmates.
EPIC will continue to also work with independent schools on a privately funded basis.
The sessions will be continuously adapted to incorporate the ever-changing nature of potential threats to young people, including live developments in esports, cryptocurrency trading and gaming issues, such as skins and loot boxes.
The worrying statistics about addiction and mental health among young people are a matter of huge concern to EPIC’s Director of UK and Rest of the World, Patrick Foster.
He said: “The workshops we deliver to this sector are crucial in educating young people on the damage that gambling and gaming can cause because despite being a vulnerable demographic, most are oblivious to the potential consequences of their actions.
“Our work with young people continues to be the most important work that we do, and always will be.
“Bringing in the expertise of WHYSUP, who have lived the desperation of gambling harm and other addictions first-hand, and Teen Tips, who are already working in a high number of UK schools and having a positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of young people, is a powerful combination.
“We know that bringing them in to enhance the crucial message around gambling harm minimisation that we already deliver at EPIC is going to prevent an immeasurable number of people from falling into the same difficulties as so many before them.”
Founder and CEO of EPIC Risk Management, Paul Buck, added: “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.”
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