GamCare says the National Gambling Helpline which it operates took more than 3,700 online chats and calls in January
A gambling charity has had its highest number of calls for any month on record and said the cost-of-living crisis is causing people to turn to the potentially addictive activity.
GamCare said the National Gambling Helpline which it operates took more than 3,700 online chats and calls in January – a 17% increase compared with the same time period last year.
It said advisers are increasingly citing examples of how the cost-of-living crisis is causing people to turn to gambling.
The charity said it receives more than 42,000 calls to its helpline each year.
GamCare, which has operated the helpline for more than 25 years, has announced a series of new digital products and services to help increase online support for people and to make help as accessible as possible.
A new online portal called MyGamCare, has been developed and is free “for anyone interested in exploring their relationship with gambling, as well as finding out how to get support”, the charity said.
The portal is an online self-help area where people can set goals, view personalised content, track their moods and get resources to help and support.
It is also designed to help people struggling with gambling to understand how it might be impacting on their time, money, relationships and wellbeing, the charity said.
The organisation said early data from its helpline has showed that it is most frequently people aged under 35 who are reaching out on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger since they became available as ways to get in contact.
Anna Hemmings, the charity’s chief executive, said: “With almost four in five people who used our services last year citing issues with online gambling, we know that the nature of gambling has changed significantly over the last 10 years and that more can be done to reach people when and where the harm is occurring.
“With the introduction of MyGamCare – along with our WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger capabilities – we hope to open the door for people to get help sooner and to reach out for support in a way that works for them.
“We know how difficult making that first step can be and how many people might not feel at a stage to talk about their gambling yet. It’s important that the options are there for people to start that journey in whichever way they are most comfortable.”
Zoe Osmond, chief executive of the charity GambleAware, said the new MyGamCare service can be a “vital resource for those who need it”.
Published: by Radio NewsHub