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Thursday 27th June 2024

This Armed Forces Week, the gambling support charity GamCare is launching new gambling prevention and awareness training to help reduce gambling harm in the Armed Forces.

The training will help to address the stigma associated with issues around gambling, and raise awareness of the ways people can get free help and support. GamCare’s Armed Forces team have already taken a booking for training to be delivered to 300 Armed Forces personnel.

According to research from Swansea University, Armed Forces veterans are more than eight times more likely than non-veterans to develop problems with gambling.

GamCare operates the National Gambling Helpline – a 24/7 helpline that people can call for free practical advice, information and support around gambling. The charity also provides free support sessions across London, the South East, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and Scotland, as part of the National Gambling Support Network.

Gambling training for the whole Armed Forces Community

The new training will focus on current service personnel and will be phased out over the next year including for:

  • Recruits in training units – delivered face to face across the UK Armed Forces.
  • Online training for Armed Forces Welfare teams – will focus on how they can support Armed Forces personnel, their families, looking at brief interventions, accessing support (including group specific) and treatment pathways.
  • Training for serving members of the Armed Forces – units are able to book for service personnel for face-to-face training delivery dependent upon numbers and availability.
  • Armed Forces leavers – this training will be either face to face or online (team availability and location dependent) and aimed at those who are leaving the Armed Forces to ensure that they are aware of what support is available and how to get it.

Shelley Johnson, Armed Forces Project Manager at GamCare says:

“Gambling harm is a growing concern within the Armed Forces community, as those currently serving and those who have previously served in the Armed Forces face unique challenges that can increase their risk of gambling harm.

“Many ex-service personnel, grappling with financial difficulties with unemployment or housing instability, turn to gambling as a coping mechanism. The risk that comes with gambling produces the feeling of a ‘high’ that can be comforting and familiar to service personnel, which is why it is so vital that people in the armed forces are aware of the risks and the support that is out there.”

Lieutenant Robert Eddie, who serves in the Royal Navy and experienced gambling harm, says:

“I found it very difficult, and still do at times, to open up about my addiction while I serve in the Royal Navy. I always believed that there would be a stigma attached to my addiction and that I would be treated differently. I tried to distance myself from social events where gambling was involved, but this made it hard to feel included.

“Contacting GamCare felt like a huge step, and it was the best step I could have taken. The GamCare adviser talked to me as an equal and instantly put me at ease. I knew then that I would have the support I needed to get through this. Everything happened in such a timely manner and soon I was having weekly sessions over the phone from a GamCare practitioner. I was nervous, but it was the right decision.

“I worked through 15 sessions, all free of charge, and gambling became easier and easier to resist. I have great coping mechanisms now that have made a real difference for me. I am now working to see how I can help to promote gambling awareness within the Royal Navy to help others who may be struggling.”

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, is holding a walking event, The 13 Bridges Challenge, on 29 June 2024 to celebrate Armed Forces Day. The event takes place on a 10-mile route through London. The event brings together people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to show appreciation for the military community. GamCare will hold a stand at the event and welcomes anyone who would like to find out more about the support on offer.

Access GamCare Armed Forces training

All military units and personnel are encouraged to take advantage of this training opportunity. Visit GamCare Armed Forces pages to learn more.

Contact [email protected] to book your training. Together, we can create a safer and more supportive environment for our Armed Forces.

Further information: Gambling support >

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