An article published by the Independent on 19 February estimated that around half a million Brits suffer with some form of gambling-related addiction. Interestingly, the methods being used to address these problems show remarkable parallels to treatment for addiction to alcohol and drugs:
“the apparent epidemic has become so severe that doctors are referring those afflicted to the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London, that is prescribing patients the anti-craving drug naltrexone, a concoction that is normally used to combat drug or alcohol dependence.”
Mentor is committed to a holistic approach to prevention that builds young people’s resilience and wellbeing to protect them against a range of harms. Our primary focus is on alcohol and drugs, as this is where we have the greatest expertise. But we also recognise the complex nature of the risks faced by young people; those vulnerable to substance misuse are also more likely to experience problems related to sexual and domestic violence, mental ill health and gambling addiction.
Protecting children and young people from these interconnected harms cannot be done in isolation. To that end, we work both independently and in partnership with others in order to bring together the best international evidence, research and on-the-ground practice to build young people’s resilience and wellbeing in order to prevent harm.
Since our founding in 1998, we have built a robust repository with extensive research and evidence of ‘what works’ in prevention. This expertise was recognised last year when Mentor was granted funding to manage the Centre for Analysis of Youth Transitions (CAYT) to further develop this research base. The CAYT repository is being managed as part of Mentor’s Alcohol and Drug Education & Prevention Information Service (ADEPIS), frequently cited as the UK’s leading source of prevention resources for educational settings.
We are now taking this learning from the past 18 years and using our knowledge of best practice in prevention to contribute to an exciting new project focused on reducing the harms related to gambling.
The project, run by Demos, in partnership with Mentor, the PSHE Association and Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Founder and Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic (Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust), will develop curriculum-based materials and interventions to be used in secondary schools across England and Wales. The goal of the project is to prevent gambling-related harm, whilst seeking to address the gap in gambling education in secondary schools in England. This work is a natural evolution of Demos’ recent research into the challenges facing regulators, policy makers and those concerned about gambling-related harms. Demos recently released a report detailing the specific challenges presented by social media, and are sharing their research and best practice alongside Mentor, PSHE Association and the National Problem Gambling Clinic to develop this educational project.
Mentor’s role is to work in collaboration with Demos and other partners to co-design lesson plans and classroom materials that will be piloted in four schools in the UK. These materials will be designed to map onto existing PSHE curricula, as well as other school priorities, including numeracy, financial management, risk management, digital literacy and online safety. The content of the classroom materials will be developed in collaboration to ensure they are the product of emerging best practice as well as the expertise of each project partner.
As well as designing curriculum content, Mentor will work with Demos, PSHE Association and Dr. Bowden-Jones to design the evaluation framework and evaluation tools for the project.