For some of us at GMA this week there has been a return to some kind of normality, after three months we have been able to bring in new residents into our newly refurbished treatment centre in Beckenham.
This service is much needed as we also hosted our 500th unique participant in our virtual groups which have been running throughout the lockdown period. These groups have been immensely popular and a great support to our ex-residents and those getting in touch with our service for support. They have also helped us to understand the issues that have arisen during lockdown for those affected by gambling. Speaking to the BGC recently CEO Matthew Hickey stated that cases of a severe nature have increased massively amongst problem gamblers during lockdown with many presenting with mental health issues, other addictions, trauma, isolation and in many cases suicide ideation. Matthew identified the “perfect storm” lockdown has created with many problem gamblers anxious about the return of live sport and re-opening of land-based betting establishments as a potential challenge for GMA and other treatment providers in the coming months. We are in conversations with a number of organisations to strengthen our support offer to meet the needs of an increase in demand.
This week has seen the re-opening of the Beckenham service after lockdown. We have been very proactive during the shutdown of the service too, completing a full refurbishment of the rehab facility. With newly decorated room and fresh new communal areas, the site has started welcoming in residents as we carefully work towards opening fully, whilst also keeping residents and staff safety at the forefront of what we are doing. For those who would like to take a look at what our newly improved premises looks like, here is a video link
In the same vein, we have just started working on refurbishments at the Dudley Recovery House, to best utilise the opportunities Covid-19 has presented to us. We are working towards creating the best environment we can for our service users, making our centres homely and as conducive as possible to continued recovery.
For those of you that follow us on social media you will have seen our message urging people to seek help if they are worried about there gambling and to not get drawn back in to bad habits now that sports such as premier league football and horse racing events such as Royal Ascot have returned. For many the return of sport will be a welcome one providing entertainment and a distraction from the current situation, many of us at GMA too are looking forward to cheering on our teams again now that the football season will be concluded.
For some however this will not be the case and the return of sport coupled with the re-opening of betting establishments will be a challenging and potentially dangerous time so please reach out for support if you are concerned about yourself or a loved one.
News reports on the state of the economy as a result of the Covid-19 measures also leave us in no doubt that there are tough times ahead for many financially too. It is important to remember that gambling should be for entertainment only and never a way to get out of financial difficulty, again if you are concerned please reach out for help Gamcare who run the national gambling helpline have also teamed up with other helpline providers under the hashtag #readytotalk to raise awareness of the support available. You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
¡Saludos desde Latinoamérica!
Or “Greetings from Latin America!” This week our Gambling Therapy team along with members of our senior management attended SBC’s Latin America Digital Summit. This was our first appearance at a “Virtual Conference” and what a great opportunity it was! To be able to promote our services to an audience half way around the world, at an event that we would not have been able to attend in person was a game changer for us, especially as we receive so many calls to our international helpline from this part of the world. The team did a fantastic job creating a visually stunning virtual stand with lots of information available to help raise awareness and widen the conversation about safer gambling and gambling harm. We attracted a lot of interest and met with many organisations with whom we hope to build strong and meaningful collaborations. We will also be attending SBC’s North America Digital Summit next month and we look forward to updating you on events stateside soon.