Tackling Stigma is an organisation set up to reduce stigma and discrimination related to gambling harm – to support the removal of self-stigma and aid recovery for those affected and end stigma and discrimination towards people with experience of gambling harm.
We will do this through sharing real life stories from experts by experience (EbEs) and those with lived experience, and bringing this together with expertise in research and communication.
An estimated 5 million British people have experienced harm linked to gambling.
Despite this, those experiencing gambling harms are often stigmatised by society and carry a deep sense of shame and self-blame which make their problems worse. This is often cited as one of the biggest barriers to recovery.
The shame and stigma are made worse by the narrative, perpetuated by the gambling industry and others, that emphasises individual responsibility for harms. Making people feel that they are entirely to blame. The role of problematic gambling industry practices in causing harm is hidden.
There is also a disconnect between peoples’ experiences of gambling harm and how they are portrayed in the media and how policymakers and the public perceive them.
The disconnect leads to harmful views that contribute to discrimination. This includes the way gambling is dealt with in regulation, financial services, health and in the justice system, among others, and when compared to other consumer and mental health issues.
Our target audience are:
The groups who will benefit most from our work are those who are personally experiencing gambling harm, either as an affected other or through their own gambling.
A multi-media website and online resource of the stories of those affected by gambling harms.
Evidence from other areas addressing similar challenges demonstrates what works to bring about change – a critical mass of voices from lived experience. It is contact, seeing people with problems as more than their problems, as another person, and ‘like me’. It is gaining insight into the difficulty and what makes a difference from the perspective of the people who live with the issue every day.
We will speak to people from different social backgrounds and document their stories. Looking at what is the same and different, organise experiences into themes and present the stories of people from different social groups.
It will be up to those we take part whether they remain anonymous and in what form their experience is shared (text, video or audio clips). This will create an online space where people can come to learn about what it is like to live with gambling harms by reading, listening or watching people share real-life experiences.
The project will work closely with existing EbE networks and contribute by using the tools from research and advocacy to systematically and impactfully bring together and communicate the range of lived experience of gambling harm, to many audiences.
We have four main aims with the project.
We use the term EbE to refer to those who have taken on a public role in some way, contributing their knowledge from experience like someone who has expertise from their profession.
We are using lived experience for anyone personally affected by gambling harm, a much wider group.
We are working collaboratively with other initiatives and EbE groups. Both to recruit people to take part and promote the use of the website, and so those who do take part have the option to become more involved as EbEs. The final website will also signpost to sources of help.
The project will use best practice in research ethics, including informed consent, copyright permissions and safeguarding, all of which will be freely available on the website.
The project has an advisory network, including EbEs and experts by profession.
The planned launch date for the website is late Spring 2022, and we will continue to develop and add to it in the following year, and for what we hope will be many more years.
We are looking forward to sharing more with you as the project develops would love to hear from you should you wish to take part or ask us any questions.
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