Samaritans urges a gambling industry commitment to suicide prevention

The Samaritans has published its first best practice guidance for the gambling industry, which it is urging industry incumbents to to review and enforce as soon as possible.

In a bid to tackle the association between gambling and suicide, the Samaritans has undertaken a programme of work to further understand gambling as a risk factor for suicide, and what can be done regarding prevention.

Consulting with 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 guidelines have been created with the view of sitting alongside existing industry resources that aim to reduce the risk of gambling-related harms. 

Recommendations include how to have a robust suicide prevention policy to safeguard customers and staff, how to use harm prevention to guide marketing communications, how to use data to help prevent suicide and how to communicate sensitively with customers in distress.  

“Suicide is preventable and we know different industries need to address specific challenges in order to have effective suicide prevention practices in place,” explained Mubeen Bhutta, head of policy at Samaritans.

“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. 

“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 Samaritans adds that is has embarked on setting industry standards that gambling businesses can hold themselves to account, and is urging all gambling businesses to adopt its guidelines as a minimum to demonstrate their commitment to suicide prevention.