As UK Charity Week (7-13 December) enters the weekend, the Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) is celebrating a unique partnership with suicide-prevention charity PAPYRUS, coming together to raise awareness of the harms affecting young people.

Both charities use educational workshops to help young people understand the potential risks and prevent future generations experiencing harm. YGAM specialise in gaming and gambling-related harm prevention whilst PAPYRUS’s mission is to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by shattering the stigma around suicide.

As well as aligning their missions to safeguard future generations, the two charities also have another poignant link. PAPYRUS was founded in 1997 by a mother, Jean Kerr, from Lancashire following the loss of her son to suicide. YGAM was founded by Anne Evans in response to her own son Alan tragically taking his own life following a long battle with a gambling addiction. These sad stories are at the heart of everything both charities do, and their foundations form a powerful social purpose informed by lived experience.

Ged Flynn, Chief Executive of PAPYRUS, said: “We are proud to be working in partnership with YGAM and are looking at ways in which we can come together to support young people. We hear from young people every day on our helpline HOPELINEUK who are struggling with thoughts of suicide. Whilst there is never one sole reason that may lead a young person think suicide is an option, we know that gaming and gambling can be a contributory factor for some.”

“By working in partnership with YGAM we are able to better understand how gaming and gambling can impact on a young person’s mental health and offer the appropriate support. We know that this partnership will help to save lives.”

The team at YGAM have now received SP-ARK training from PAPYRUS. This enabled YGAM to reflect on their personal and organisational approach to discussing and reducing the stigma surrounding suicide in day-to-day life.  It also highlighted and reaffirmed the importance of self-care, a key message that is included within YGAM’s own training where they seek to inform, educate, and safeguard young and vulnerable people.

Members of the PAPYRUS team have also undergone YGAM’s free training which covers information on gaming and gambling harms and discusses the effects it can have not just on the individual, but on their family and friends around them. During their programme, YGAM discuss the stages through which a young person can suffer harm through gambling highlighting the alarming statistics that show problem gamblers are significantly more likely to have suicidal thoughts or try to take their own life. YGAM believes it is vitally important that education and youth sector professionals are made aware of these issues, and that in discussing it we can help to reduce the stigma surrounding not only gambling disorder, but mental health.

All training sessions have been assured by City & Guilds and the resources have been approved by the PHSE Association to enable the sessions to be delivered directly to young people in schools.

Sandy Thompson, the YGAM Education Manager for Greater London, said: “It was fantastic to train more of our colleagues from PAPYRUS, working together to continue our shared commitment to improve young lives by increasing awareness around these crucial issues. PAPYRUS provide vital support to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, whilst also engaging and building awareness in communities, and training organisations and groups. Working together in partnership is a crucial step in highlighting these important areas and continuing to provide the support and information that our young people desperately need.”

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under 35 in the UK. Every year many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling. PAPYRUS believes that many young suicides are preventable, and today the charity engages communities and volunteers in suicide prevention projects and delivers training programmes to individuals and groups.

UK Charity Week is a campaign designed to give the people of the United Kingdom an opportunity to place awareness and fundraising for charities high on the national agenda.

If your organisation would be interested in learning more about YGAM or booking a free training session with one of its education managers, please contact Sandy Thompson on sandythompson@ygam.org or visit www.ygam.org

HOPELINEUK is a confidential support and advice service for children and young people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide, or anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned for a young person who might be you can contact HOPELINEUK for confidential support and practical advice.

Call: 0800 068 4141
Text: 07860 039 967
Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org