Problem gambling: where to go for help

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As part of May’s Health Month, we tackle the issue of ‘problem gambling’. Problem gambling poses a serious risk to Serving Personnel and isn’t often talked about.

Problem gambling, which may be online or offline, is when a person’s behaviour is affected in a negative manner by their persistent or recurring gambling.  The behaviour causes harm to the gambler and those around them including family and friends.  This negative behaviour may lead to finance difficulties, mental health problems and relationship breakdowns.

If problem gambling affects you or someone you know, visit MONEYFORCE for information about how to seek help and advice with gambling debts.

RAF Benevolent Fund research

The RAF Benevolent Fund’s research, Meeting the Needs of the Serving RAF Community  2018, found that between 2-5% of RAF serving personnel thought gambling could be a problem for them.

The RAF Benevolent Fund is working with GamCare to raise awareness of when gambling can become a problem and to help serving personnel and their families get help if and when they need it.

GamCare provides free information, advice and support for anyone affected by problem gambling and also operates the National Gambling Helpline, either over the phone or via web chat, plus a moderated online Forum and chatrooms.

Where to get help

National Gambling Helpline: Freephone 0808 8020 133 (24hrs a day, 7 days a week)

Live chat: gamcare.org.uk

The BeGambleAware website offers information around gambling and GambleAware is a charity that works to prevent gambling addiction.  The treatment page of its website outlines what help is available to those worried about gambling.

Justyn Rees Larcombe was previously a Major in the British Army.  After transitioning out of the Army, he found himself gambling large amounts of money.  After reaching an extremely low point in his life, he turned his life around and no longer gambles.  Justyn has written two books about his gambling addiction and also shares his story at conferences and meetings to warn people about the dangers of falling into gambling addiction.  More on his story is covered in our Dangers of Gambling article.

Justyn has also written a Transition Guide, which has been published by the Army, called “Gambling – A Serious Risk to Military Personnel”. It is informative reading for anyone concerned about their own, or a person they know, gambling habits. Click on the link above and scroll down to find the guide.

Further information

As well as the current Coronavirus advice and guidance, the RAF FF’s website provides a good reference section on all things health-related. You can also sign up to our (free) weekly eBulletin and/or quarterly Envoy magazine to keep yourself up to date generally with updates and information on new initiatives as they go live. Image

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