YGAM leads new programme to train UK GPs on gambling addiction

The Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) is leading an alliance of experts to introduce a purposeful new initiative to deliver specialist training on gambling, gaming, and digital behavioural addictions to healthcare professionals such as GPs.

The ‘Mindful Resilience’ programme is the result of a collaboration between YGAM, Bournemouth University, the Responsible Gambling Council, and Betknowmore UK.  The aim of the initiative is to enable health care professionals in primary care networks to have access to evidence-led, accredited quality training on the health risks associated with gambling/gaming-harm, digital addiction and unhealthy online behaviours. The programme will also promote signposting to the National Treatment Network & NHS for patients needing support. This comes after a 2019 report into Gambling-related suicide published by the Gambling Commission highlighted the need for greater awareness among GPs and other primary care and frontline service providers.

Dr Sarah Hodge from Bournemouth University, who is working on the programme, said: “We are thrilled to be working with YGAM on this project. In this digital age young people can be vulnerable to digital related harms, such as through activities related to their gaming and gambling. This is a really exciting project to support the awareness and the communication of these potential harms facing young people to practitioners through co-creating workshop materials as well as developing the concept of digital resilience.”

YGAM have appointed a highly qualified clinician to lead this ground-breaking programme which will initially start in London before expanding to the West Midlands in 2021 and then a potential national rollout in 2022.


Natural progression


YGAM CEO and Founder Lee Willows believes that the Mindful Resilience programme is a natural progression of the prevention work YGAM have done so far: “Gambling-related harm is a public health issue so this initiative will give healthcare practitioners the expert knowledge, support and resources they need. In bringing together these highly respected organisations, we can combine our resources and insight to provide an incredibly important training programme. I’m confident this new programme will complement YGAM’s existing prevention programmes and will have a hugely positive impact on the lives of individuals who seek help”.

Another partner central to delivering the objectives of the Mindful Resilience initiative is the Canada-based Responsible Gambling Council (RGC), which operates globally. Dr Sasha Stark, a Senior Researcher with the RGC, spoke about the organisation’s role in the training programme behind Mindful Resilience: “RGC will lead the evaluation of the Mindful Resilience training programme, providing an independent assessment of the programme’s delivery and impact among participating health care professionals. We look forward to working alongside leaders in the prevention and education space in the UK to increase health care professionals’ awareness of and skills for identifying problematic gambling and other digital behaviours. Limited information is available to primary care professionals on gambling-related harms and we believe this initiative will both support practitioners in their work and increase access to support for a large number of patients experiencing harm”.

Betknowmore are also playing a pivotal role in the creation of the resources and training delivery. Its CEO and Founder Frankie Graham, himself a former gambling addict, is passionate about the impact that this new project could have on the Health Care Community. He said: “Betknowmore UK has pioneered working closely with local communities, and in doing so, we understand the role that health and community services can play in addressing gambling-related harm. It is quite right that health care professionals have enhanced understanding and recognition of gambling harms, and the tools to engage positively and authentically with individuals who may present with gambling issues.”

The Mindful Resilience programme will be delivered collaboratively, with Bournemouth University taking the lead for training content creation; RGC will take the lead on evaluation; Betknowmore UK & YGAM will deliver practitioner recruitment and training. YGAM will lead the partnership and lead on building strategic relevance.