The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) has today started its first student information campaign since the launch of its dedicated ‘Student Hub’ online education portal earlier this year.
‘Keep Calm in COVID’ (www.students.ygam.org/keepcalmincovid/) provides students with a range of tools, guidance, and useful documents for navigating student life through these unprecedented times of uncertainty. The holistic digital resource is relevant to all students, covering a range of topics from mental health, gaming and gambling and where to find support. It also features an interactive quiz that allows them to test their understanding of the current situation and compare with their peers.
Research published by The Lancet in July suggests that the mental health of young people aged 18-24 has deteriorated this year, likely due to the ongoing pandemic. This is a concerning development, as YGAM’s research on the topic suggests that students often turn to gambling and gaming when they are depressed, as a desire to feel more ‘in control’ of their day-to-day activities. One third of students said their gambling habits have had a negative effect on their wellbeing.
Created with input from current students, YGAM’s Student Hub features bespoke advice and articles to help students make the most out of university while avoiding the risks of gaming and gambling-related harm. Along with providing resources related to gambling and gaming information, ‘Keep Calm in COVID’ also focuses on the mental and physical health aspects of being a student during this particularly challenging year.
Jahid Hussain and Georgia Brennan-Scott are two students who helped shape the new resources and tools on the website. Jahid, who is the Community Development Manager for YGAM, said: “I am really glad we have managed to get this campaign up and running before the winter break, many students would like to try out the new PlayStation and Xbox during their time away from contact hours at University, but as semester exams loom for many, it is valuable that we have our resources for helping students find that balance.”
Georgia Brennan-Scott, who is the Student Design Manager for YGAM, said: “I want other students to recognise that we’re all in the same boat, but we’re not doomed – there’s actually so much support out there for students and I’m so glad to be part of this campaign which makes it more accessible.”
Pete Woodward, Head of Delivery for University and Student Engagement at YGAM, said: “Students and universities have both faced unprecedented challenges from COVID this year. We have to address this topic and we’ve identified that COVID along with associated physical and mental health challenges can increase the risk of gambling and gaming related harm. As we approach the winter break we hope this campaign and tool will support both universities and their students to recharge and hit the ground running in 2021”
Research commissioned by YGAM in 2019 and undertaken by Red Brick Research found that 264,000 students are at some risk of gambling-related harm in the UK, while around 88,000 may already be problem gamblers.
The National Union of Students (NUS) has endorsed YGAM’s Student Hub, with a spokesperson saying: “With the Covid-19 crisis, even more students are and will be struggling financially. Charities such as YGAM and their new Student Hub website are vital for students. It is crucial to provide advice on how to make the most of university life while avoiding the risks.”
‘Keep Calm in COVID’ on the YGAM Student Hub can be accessed via: www.students.ygam.org/keepcalmincovid/