Samaritans, the UK mental health charity, has published its first best practice guidance for the gambling industry to help operators understand and adopt practical steps to prevent gambling-related suicide.
The organisation has also undertaken a programme of work to further understand gambling as a risk factor for suicide and how gambling-related suicide can be prevented.
In a statement, Samaritans said it wants to provide gambling businesses with industry standards so they can hold themselves to account. Moreover, it is urging all operators to adopt its guidelines as a minimum requirement to demonstrate their commitment to suicide prevention.
Head of Policy Mubeen Bhutta said: “Suicide is preventable and we know different industries need to address specific challenges in order to have effective suicide prevention practices in place. With a clear association between gambling and suicide, identifying the changes needed in the gambling environment to prevent suicide is a vital part of our work.
“We’re proud to publish these industry guidelines and look forward to seeing all gambling businesses engage with them in a proactive effort to do more to prevent gambling-related suicide.”
Samaritans developed the guidelines after consulting a wide range of relevant stakeholders, including people with lived experience, other charities, health and support services and those involved in the gambling industry.
The guidance is focused on suicide prevention and goes hand-in-hand with existing industry resources that aim to reduce the risk of gambling-related harms.
For example, they set out how to establish a robust suicide prevention policy to safeguard customers and staff, the best use of harm prevention to guide marketing communications, how to use data to help prevent suicide and how to communicate sensitively with customers in distress.
Bhutta added: “Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. There is still much more that needs to be done within the wider gambling environment to reduce the risk of gambling-related harm, and to ensure that everyone can get the support they need.
“Operators following our guidelines is one positive step towards improving suicide prevention in the gambling industry and we will continue to push for action to help reduce gambling-related harms in the future.”
The charity is working with GamCare on industry resources designed to reduce the risk of suicide in gamblers. GamCare was also one of the stakeholders whose insights and expertise informed Samaritans’ guidelines.
The charity has also worked to promote excellence in suicide prevention across industries that have specific associated risks such as for technology platforms and the media sector.