Record Contact Rates to GamCare Helpline Signal Growing Awareness and Need for Support
GamCare’s National Gambling Helpline has experienced an unprecedented surge in contact rates, with 2023 marking the highest number of calls and online chats in its history.
This significant increase highlights a growing awareness and need for support among individuals struggling with gambling and their loved ones.
In 2023, the Helpline received 52,370 interactions, marking a 24% rise from the previous year. Notably, August emerged as the busiest month ever recorded, while December witnessed a staggering 39% increase compared to the same period in 2022, making it the busiest Christmas period on record.
In response to the growing demand for support, GamCare introduced a new WhatsApp communication channel in February 2023, broadening the avenues for individuals to seek help. This addition facilitated an extra 6,000 interactions, emphasizing the importance of accessible and diverse support channels.
Early Intervention and Prevention
Samantha Turnton, Head of Remote Support Services at GamCare, emphasized the shift towards earlier intervention: “Advisors are reporting an increase in calls from people reaching out at an earlier stage, which is invaluable in preventing gambling harm from escalating.” This proactive approach is crucial in mitigating the long-term impacts of gambling addiction.
The Helpline also noted that financial pressures, particularly those stemming from the cost-of-living crisis, were a contributing factor in some individuals’ gambling behaviors, underscoring the complex interplay between economic conditions and gambling habits.
The record number of interactions with GamCare’s Helpline, coupled with the success of initiatives like TalkBanStop, reflects a positive shift towards acknowledging and addressing gambling-related issues. GamCare’s commitment to providing round-the-clock support offers a beacon of hope to those seeking to embark on a journey of recovery.
Our Comment on the Article
The surge in contact rates to GamCare’s National Gambling Helpline in 2023 is a stark indicator of the growing need for gambling support services. This uptick, while concerning, also signals a positive trend towards greater awareness and willingness to seek help.
The expansion of support channels, such as the introduction of WhatsApp, and the emphasis on early intervention are pivotal steps forward in the fight against gambling harm. As the industry continues to evolve, the role of organizations like GamCare in providing a lifeline to those affected by gambling becomes increasingly vital. Their efforts not only aid individuals in their recovery journey but also contribute to a broader understanding and mitigation of gambling-related issues within society.