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Chapter One Need urgent help?

Supporting someone you care about

It's hard worrying about someone you care about when you can see that they are going through a tough time.  

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Are you worried about someone?

If you're worried about someone, it's important to learn about gambling, how gambling products can cause addiction, and how the gambling industry targets people already harmed.  This will help you let the person gambling know that you're there for them.

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Gambling harms

Gambling harms are the negative effects that happen to someone after using harmful forms of gambling. They can affect any and every aspect of life - mental and physical health, money, relationships, education, or work. Gambling also harms people around the person who’s gambling. 

You might be a loved one or close to someone harmed by gambling and feeling the effects too.

It’s important to know that it’s not their fault or yours. The gambling industry has designed addictive products that make people want to gamble and keep gambling.

Find out more about gambling harms
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Starting a conversation about gambling

If you’re worried about someone and want to start a conversation it can be difficult to know what to say.  Here are a few thoughts that might help:

  • Learn about how gambling causes harm and the effects of different kinds of gambling.

  • We’ve all been exposed to a lot of prejudice about gambling and the people who gamble. Think about any assumptions you have.

  • Once someone is addicted to gambling it’s difficult to stop and can sometimes feel overwhelming.

  • People harmed by gambling are not weak or bad – they have been given an illness that is hard to overcome.

It is hard to watch someone you love go through these struggles, and it's very easy to put your own health and wellbeing to the side. I've learnt that it's so important to 'put your oxygen mask on first' and really look after yourself, living with someone in addiction and recovery is hard. Getting support as an affected other has benefitted me in many ways. It helps me to share the load, feel supported and not feel alone.
Laura, partner of someone in recovery from a gambling addiction

Looking after yourself

If you're feeling overwhelmed or don't know how to help, remember you are not alone. There are professional services available for people dealing with gambling, and there’s also support for those close to them.

GamFam is a charity empowering individuals and families to reduce the impact of gambling harms and move towards a more positive future. GamFam offers free online peer support, including structured peer support groups for affected others and separate groups for those directly in recovery.

Finding support for someone you care about

The best place to support people experiencing gambling harms is the NHS, and there are others.

When I found out he [my boyfriend] had relapsed, I was devastated. I felt so sad for him after he had successfully managed over a year without a bet. I felt hurt. He is a good, kind, loving man and I have to keep reminding myself it’s his addiction that makes him behave in that way.
Susie, affected other