Updated: Apr 14
Upon reflecting on my experiences as an affected other of gambling-harm, one of my biggest frustrations is that once upon a time, I knew nothing about gambling harm and anything about it from a health perspective. These are words that I had never even heard of before the age of 23. For those of you who may not know, this is extremely odd considering that I had spent almost 16 years of my life with someone suffering from a gambling disorder.
Despite attending health appointments with my Dad, gambling was never mentioned by either my Dad or the healthcare professionals. Across four years at Imperial College Medical School, gambling was never mentioned across lectures or clinical placements. Although this is hardly surprising considering how gambling has only recently been recognised as a public health issue, I still find it hard to believe, considering the significance of gambling harm.
When I first started this journey of talking about gambling harm, I met far too many future doctors or current doctors who knew nothing about gambling harm. In fact, many shrugged their shoulders and said that they had not been taught about gambling harm. Whereas Medical Students are repeatedly taught about alcohol harm and tobacco harm and even get substantial teaching about substance use disorders, we receive zilch on gambling harm. And I know this for a fact.
That's why I was extremely pleased to work with my Medical School to help create primary care teaching on gambling-harm for Year 2 Medical Students.
It's minimally reasonable that GPs and other healthcare professionals are appropriately trained such that they are equipped to be a part of alleviating and minimising gambling harm.