Let’s talk about Gambling

Think Pieces

By Zack Haider · January 30, 2024


Gambling-related harm affects many people and families around the world. It is having devastating consequences for those affected, ranging from financial ruin to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Gambling addiction has been linked with increased rates of suicide, family breakdowns, crime and homelessness.  

Despite its serious nature, gambling-related harm remains largely unrecognised by society due to its hidden nature; however it is important to recognise the signs in order to prevent further damage being caused. Gambling is a cyclical activity, causing huge harm to people, their families and communities. The more you gamble, the greater the loss, the greater the loss the more people believe they can recoup their losses. Present interventions are limited, such as setting limits and barring yourself from bookmakers etc. They are often funded by the gambling industry and have either little evidence or minimal impact.  

The first step towards tackling gambling-related harm is understanding what it is, rather than just creating another label. It affects people regardless of their age, ethnicity, gender, etc. Anyone who gambles runs the risk of developing an unhealthy relationship with their activity which could lead them down a path towards potential huge social harm if not addressed.  


What should we do?  

  • Expect responsible practices from the gambling industry
  • Increasing awareness through education campaigns
  • Give people the skills to abstain from gambling
  • Support people affected by gambling to rebuild their lives
  • Keep young people safe from harm
  • Train ambassadors and mentors to build a legacy of learning


We have been working with our partners Avon and Wiltshire NHS in developing an effective approach to support people affected by Gambling-related harms. As part of this, we supported them with delivering our unique peer-led approach in self-determination, empowering people to develop their acquired skills to overcome their gambling behaviour. Their lived experience is important in coproducing services for the future and we are also training our learners to become future peer ambassadors. 

What has been very clear in our work within gambling services is the harm this is causing to many of our most vulnerable citizens. We are seeing people of all ages including children impacted by debt, poverty, mental health, crime and violence. 

One of the most important lessons we have learnt is education is one of the most important health interventions. We pride ourselves in taking an approach that is purely educational. We challenge labels, over-medicalisation and helplessness. We believe that if you really want to see change you have to empower the people who are experiencing those problems to help themselves first. Knowledge is power and power is change. 


If you want to learn more about Gambling-related harms take a read through the link below: