The importance of World Suicide Prevention Day at YGAM

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. A day recognised by globally by charities, organisations and effected families to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention. Also a poignant reminder of exactly why YGAM was founded.

The Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) was co-founded by Anne Evans and Lee Willows following their own devasting experiences. Anne’s son Alan tragically committed suicide aged 40 after suffering for 25 years with a gambling addiction.  Lee also battled with a gambling addiction before his recovery and at his lowest point planned his own suicide.  

In recent months, YGAM has been working with suicide prevention charity Papyrus to exchange training, expertise and knowledge. Papyrus offer training to other organisations who want to understand some of the key issues and factors contributing to youth suicides. Papyrus staff have attended the YGAM educational workshops and the whole YGAM team will soon go through the Papyrus training.  Papyrus also run a helpline telephone service called ‘HopeLine’ which offers support to young people who find themselves in times of crisis.

David Heald, Papyrus Regional Manager for South Wales said “Staff working on PAPYRUS’s HOPELINE UK service for those under 35 who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or for those of any age who support them, recently received training from YGAM in gaming and gambling addiction. Staff found the training extremely useful and interesting and relevant to their work. As part of ongoing work between the two organisations, PAPYRUS will be training YGAM staff in suicide awareness and we hope to continue to work together to save young lives and create more awareness around both gambling and suicide issues.”

Speaking on World Suicide Prevention Day, Anne Evans, YGAM Founder Patron said: “I am pleased that the team at YGAM will be receiving training with Papyrus to increase awareness and understanding of the many factors that contribute to youth suicide.  Suicide has a devastating and permanent impact on families which is why I am so passionate about seeing prevention work at the forefront of YGAM’s social purpose and vision.”

YGAM has also trained the team working at the charity ‘Action to Prevent Suicide’ based in the South West. Founding Director & CEO of ‘Action to Prevent Suicide’, Chukumeka Maxwell said: “Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. I believe that the YGAM organisation and its courses are enlightening on the subject of gambling. They are a valuable asset in highlighting a possible cause for all those who want to prevent suicide in young people and adults alike.”

YGAM CEO & Founder Lee Willows also commented on his very personal focus on the correlation between gambling-related harm and suicide: “It is a glaring reality for those who work with problem gamblers, gamers and other addicts that for many, suicide feels like the only option left available to them. Through my own personal experience in reaching that level of desperation, I understand entirely how prevalent this really is for many people who feel trapped and consumed by their addiction.”

Liz Marlow and Sam Calvert-Smith both work for YGAM and also volunteer for the charity SHOUT which provides a 24/7 UK crisis text service available for times when people feel they need immediate support. SHOUT was publicly launched in May 2019 by Prince William, Kate, Harry and Meghan. Liz said: “I used to work in a Mental Health Unit for Adolescents then on a morning walk, I had a chance encounter with a guy who was having suicidal thoughts. I decided to undertake a 6-week training course to become a Crisis Volunteer. This was just a couple of days after the tragic news of Caroline Flack and the service saw a huge increase in texters.  I undertake about two shifts per week dealing with all kinds of mental health – anxiety, depression, domestic violence, self-harm, suicide, etc.”

YGAM is proud to work with these inspirational charities. Further information on these organisations and the services they offer can be found on the link below.

Papyrus – https://www.papyrus-uk.org/

Action to Prevent Suicide – https://actiontopreventsuicide.org/

SHOUT – https://giveusashout.org/

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