Hannah, from GamCare’s Youth Advisory Board, highlights the impact gambling can have on our daily lives.*
Gambling affects all of our lives. Whether it’s an advert on the tv, or us actively gambling money or any personal possession. But you may be thinking, how can I tell what I’m doing is considered gambling. Well to explore that question, we need to understand what gambling really is.
What is gambling?
Gambling is the betting or staking of something of value, with a consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event in which the result may be determined by chance or accident. This could mean any type of chance: mystery boxes, betting on a fight, football, schools, grades or even making a bet with your friend for an embarrassing action and sometimes money.
How does gambling affect our daily lives?
Harm from gambling isn’t just about losing money. Gambling can affect self-esteem, relationships, physical and mental health, work performance and social life. It can harm not only the person who gambles but also family, friends, workplaces and communities.
How can a child be affected?
When a parent or caregiver has a gambling problem and children are often affected, however, each child deals differently with the impacts of the problem. Some children can feel forgotten, depressed and angry. They could believe they caused the problem and that if they are “good” and help out with whatever the parent is going through, the problem will stop. Some children take care of brothers or sisters, or try to support their parents or guardians. This responsibility causes children stress.
Where can I find help?
Gambling support is a free service that provides practical advice and emotional support to people affected by problem gambling. GamCare offers a range of treatments for gambling addiction, depending on the needs of the individual. There are also a number of things you can do yourself to help:
· Understand your problem – you can’t help yourself if you don’t understand yourself.
· Join a support group – other people in a similar situation as you can offer support.
· Avoid temptation – remember why you’re doing this or who you’re doing it for.
· Remember your worth – it’s okay to make mistakes and doesn’t make you a bad person.
· Find alternatives to gambling – even though it sounds silly, there are a bunch of things you could enjoy instead of gambling like cooking, reading, playing video games or just spending time with family and those who support you.
It is hard to stop gambling but if you understand yourself and are able to make the decision to stop then you are already succeeding. Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to need support. And there are tons of support services out there including GamCare, where we can help you to stop gambling and get your life back on track.
If you are affected by gambling harm, whether it is your own or someone close to you’s gambling, reach out to our Young People’s Support Service here.
*This article is written by a member of our Youth Advisory Board and all views represented are their own.