Evidence suggests there are upwards of 340,000 individuals directly suffering with gambling related harms which can impact a person’s mental health, finances, relationships and housing alongside being linked to criminality and suicide, there are also over 4 million people impacted by the gambling of a friend, family member of colleague. Public Health England’s (PHE) Gambling-related harms review (2021) estimated that the annual economic burden of harmful gambling is approximately £1.27 billion. It further estimated that £647.2 million of this total is a direct cost to government. This figure comprised: £62.8 million in financial harm; £342.2 million in mental and physical health harms; £79.5 million in employment and education harms; £162.5 million in criminal activity; and a further £647 million in excess costs. PHE concluded that harmful gambling should be considered a public health issue, stating that more needs to be done to prevent and reduce harms associated with gambling.

Beacon Counselling Trust (BCT) are a mild to moderate mental health service provider based in Liverpool providing free and confidential treatment and support for individuals affected by gambling related harm across the North West of England. One of BCT’s key pieces of work is the Workplace Charter to Reduce Gambling Related Harms, a framework designed to protect and support individuals experiencing gambling harms in the workplace, promote good health and wellbeing practice and encourage collaboration to support the wider effort of reducing gambling harms.  Organisations are encouraged to sign up to The Workplace Charter, a seven step agreement which aims to support their staff and volunteers’ health and wellbeing. These steps include making a commitment to give gambling harms parity with drug and alcohol issues in the workplace, to offer staff training to raise awareness of this issue, to create or amend current policies to feature gambling harms and support individuals affected through their recovery. This offer includes access to BCT’s free training programme ‘Bet You Can Help’, a first aid approach to tackling gambling related harms. This offer consists of a one-hour introductory session ‘Bet You Can Help Now!’ and a level two qualification, a full day programme accredited by the Royal Society for Public Health. More information can be found at www.betyoucanhelp.co.uk Since the charter’s inception a wide variety of organisations have signed up, this includes local authorities in Wigan, Glasgow and Blackpool, the University of Central Lancashire, trade unions Unite the Union and the TUC, Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust and Nestle to name just a few, with several more organisations signing up in the coming weeks and months.

If you would like more information on this work please contact James Callaway at [email protected]