Details from the Scottish Gambling Education Network meeting on 20 Jan

January 27, 2022

The first network webinar of 2022 focused on tackling stigma around gambling.

We are thrilled that so many members took part in this quarter’s event. We are also grateful to those who completed an evaluation, to help us continue to improve future network events!

Georgina Charlton (Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland)

Georgina shared learning points from The ALLIANCE’s role leading the Scotland Reducing Gambling Harm programme, and the Lived Experience Forum. She highlighted the role of stigma in making gambling a hidden issue, and acting as a barrier to treatment.

She also described how different groups may experience stigma in different ways, and for different reasons. For example, coming into group recovery settings may feel especially challenging if people do not feel like these spaces are ‘for them’.

Dan Spencer (EPIC Risk Management, expert by experience)

Dan shared his experience of harm from his own gambling for over 16 years. He exposed the connections between stigma and stereotypes around people who gamble and experience harm – and the need to challenge these stereotypes.

Dan also highlighted the stigma attached to related issues that people experiencing harm might be facing – for example, around substance use and disorder, poor mental health, or suicidal behaviour.

Susan McKellar (Scottish Women’s Convention)

Susan presented findings from a roundtable event run by the Convention, for women to discuss their experiences of gambling harm. Interestingly, using the word ‘harm’ put some people off engaging. Some women who gamble did not see what they do as ‘gambling’, and may not want to acknowledge the risk of harm involved.

Susan explained that women sharing their stories can have a big impact on encouraging more women to come forward. She also proposed that we should do more to create and promote women-only support groups as safe spaces for recovery.

Clare Wyllie (Tackling Gambling Stigma)

Clare began with an overview of what we know from research on stigma around gambling. For example, gambling stigma and discrimination are connected – we don’t treat gambling harm in the same way as other public health issues.

She shared important lessons on what works when tackling stigma, such as connecting people with voices from lived experience. She also shared details on the multi-media web space Tackling Gambling Stigma are developing, to systematically document lived experience of gambling harm.

The chat box was particularly lively at this meeting, including comments on the importance of countering ‘personal responsibility’ industry narratives.

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