The EPIC Restart Basis and Leeds Beckett College assist victims of playing.

The EPIC Restart Foundation, a UK charity that aims to help victims of gambling addiction, has announced its partnership with Leeds Beckett University. Carnegie Great Outdoors, an outdoor education provider based in Leeds Beckett, will provide trainers to help develop programs and courses for the foundation.

Mental health experts collaborate to help victims of gambling addiction

The first joint initiative planned between the two parties was ‘+1% – Live the life you want’, a weekend course that began in May at the National Sports Center in Lilleshall. The event was a resounding success and sold out, with other programs continuing in June and July.

Carnegie Great Outdoors coaches in Leeds Beckett have teamed up with experienced mentors from EPIC Restart to help game victims rebuild their lives, encouraging self-confidence, resilience and faith in themselves. Alison Stanton, business support manager at Carnegie Great Outdoors, said Carnegie’s experienced coaches would help establish programs centered on “sustainable recovery and building resilience” that would form the foundation for a future recovery.

One of the inspirations for this partnership is Leeds Beckett’s ongoing work to help wounded and sick members of the military. The university’s ten-year program has achieved remarkable and lasting positive change in participants’ mental health.

A 2021 study of the effects of the Leeds Beckett Recovery Course on injured or sick British servicemen found that 74% of participants saw an improvement in their mental well-being. Partnering with EPIC Restart will allow gambling victims to benefit from these skills.

Problem gambling is a growing problem for the city of Leeds

Leeds Beckett University has previously published research on the impact of gaming at the local level. A 2017 report to Leeds City Council identified 10,000 residents as potential ‘problem gamblers’ and another 30,000 who may be ‘at risk of harm’ from gambling.

Leeds has a population of just over half a million, so these rates are several times higher than the national average of less than one percent. The study identified young people, low-income people and people with mental health issues as being more likely to become problem gamblers. The city council recommended improving specialist support to help those affected.

“There are fantastic treatments for people who are trying to quit gambling,” said Sharon Parr, CEO of the EPIC Restart Foundation. She noted that the biggest problem for victims of gambling was the lack of long-term support. “A lot of times they don’t know where to turn,” added Parr, who noted that people recovering from gambling damage can feel isolated and suffer from a lack of trust and damaged personal relationships. Unemployment and high debt are other obstacles to a successful recovery.

Parr expressed hope that the new collaborative initiative will help people get their lives back together and move on after addiction.

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