The National Union of Students (NUS) which represents 7 million individuals engaged in higher and further education has welcomed the launch of YGAM’s new Student Hub website which has been developed to raise awareness of the risk of students experiencing gaming and gambling-related harm while at university/college. The NUS described the YGAM initiative as ‘vital for students and crucial in helping to provide advice on how to make the most of university life while avoiding the risks.’
Created with input from current students, the website features bespoke advice and guidance to help students make the most out of university while avoiding the risks of gaming and gambling-related harm. It features interactive elements along with lived-experience case studies to further highlight the real issues of gambling and gaming harms on university campuses.
Pete Woodward, Head of Delivery for University and Student Engagement at YGAM, said: “Research commissioned by YGAM and undertaken by Red Brick Research found that 264,000 students are at some risk of gambling-related harm in the UK, while around 88,000 may already be problem gamblers. Student life has changed dramatically this year due to Covid-19, and this could have a detrimental impact on student wellbeing and increase the risks associated with gaming and gambling at university. Our Student Hub is the first of its kind; supporting students to enjoy a university experience free from gaming and gambling-related harm. We will use this online portal to gather insights and share findings with our partners at other universities and students’ unions.”
He added: “Research published by The Lancet in July suggests that the mental health of young people aged 18-24 has deteriorated this year, likely due to the ongoing pandemic. This is a concerning development, as YGAM’s research on the topic suggests that students often turn to gambling and gaming when they are depressed, as a desire to feel more ‘in control’ of their day-to-day activities. One third of students said their gambling habits have had a negative effect on their wellbeing.”
Karen Rowlingson, Professor of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham said: “Students are under huge pressures, more so than ever this year. Gambling and gaming problems can sometimes be a consequence of those pressures and sometimes a further cause. YGAM’s new student hub provides an incredibly important resource to help students avoid the risks of gaming and gambling-related harm at this time.”
To support the Student Hub and its additional university projects, YGAM has also announced the appointment of part-time student positions to drive their programme and to ensure the voice of students is consistently used in their work. YGAM will also be training staff at 25 different universities across the UK, enabling an unprecedented number of young people to benefit from the additional safeguarding this will allow.
The Student Hub will sit alongside other tools such as GAMSTOP the free, independent, self-exclusion tool which enables people to exclude from all UK-based online gambling operators for a period of six months, twelve months, or five years.