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04 Dec 2021

Workshops in Longford secondary schools to highlight impact of problem gambling

Workshops in Longford secondary schools to highlight impact of problem gambling

Workshops in Longford secondary schools to highlight impact of problem gambling

Leading local addictions charity Extern is highlighting the dangers of problem gambling among young people as part of a new series of workshops being delivered to schools in the Meath, Louth, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly and Laois areas. 

The Extern Problem Gambling project supports people who have been negatively impacted by problem gambling, through providing supports, resources and referral pathways for problem gamblers and their families.

The project also advocates on behalf of those suffering the consequences of problem gambling, and highlights gambling-related issues in the media. 

Over the next six months the project will be delivering workshops to students at secondary schools across the area to highlight the impact which problem gambling can have on individuals, families and communities. Funding for the workshops has been provided through the HSE National Lottery Grants scheme. 

The legal age for gambling in Ireland is currently 18. However, recent statistics have shown that the problem gambling rate among teenage boys in Ireland has more than doubled in the last 4-5 years, and that just over 3,400 Irish schoolchildren aged 15-16 may be gambling either problematically or excessively. 

Barry Grant, manager of the Extern Problem Gambling project, said: “Young people in our communities are exposed to messages on a daily basis about gambling, whether through sports advertising and sponsorships, online through social media, or even through certain popular video games which offer rewards for investing money. This can often lead to issues with gambling in later life. Indeed, many of the people we counsel as adults will have begun gambling during adolescence. 

“These schools-based sessions offer an opportunity for us to engage with young people, in a completely non-judgmental way, about these issues and encourage them to reflect on how they may be impacted by gambling, even if they are not aware of it. We will be covering areas such as spotting the warning signs of problem gambling, and the common psychological issues which allow people to continue gambling even when it becomes a problem.” 

Sessions will be delivered by Barry’s colleague Tony O’Reilly, who will be speaking of his own high-profile issues with problem gambling. Tony also co-hosts the weekly Extern Problem Gambling podcast, which discusses a range of areas related to problem gambling. Recent guests have included Offaly GAA star Niall McNamee and Senator Shane Cassels. 

For further details on Extern’s Problem Gambling project, including the weekly podcast series, please visit https://www.problemgambling.ie/podcast.html  

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