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GamCare offers “message of hope” to anyone struggling over Christmas

GamCare has urged people to look out for signs that someone may be struggling with problem gambling during the festive season.

HelpingHand

The charity cited helpline advisers who cautioned everyone to take care over the Christmas period by monitoring theirs and others’ behaviour. It reiterated the signs to watch out for, which include losing interest in activities or hobbies, a change in mood, sleeping problems, money troubles and lying.

GamCare advisers stated that Christmas can be a particularly triggering time for at-risk individuals due to financial issues and social isolation that only compound mental health difficulties. An early December payday may also add an extra temptation to gamble.

Before lockdown in January 2020, its helpline recorded an 18% increase in referrals, with staff also reporting a rise in safeguarding issues around the festive season.

Consequently, GamCare stated that help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the National Gambling Helpline. People who may have concerns about privacy, or would rather not make a phone call for any other reason, can contact the helpline via live chat.

“With more financial and family pressures, we know that the festive holidays can be a tough time for people trying to control their gambling,” said Fiona Macleod, GamCare’s Director of Clinical and Communities.

She added: “Not being able to buy presents for their children is something that can hit home for those experiencing gambling harms more than anything else. For some people, it might be the isolation and loneliness that is the trigger.

“We are always here to listen and support you when you might feel you have no other options. A message of hope — that is essentially what we’re giving people.”

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