Ara has pledged to the Armed Forces Covenant

Ara signs Armed Forces Covenant: On Wednesday 3rd November 2021, Ara signed the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) as part of the charity’s ongoing commitment to the Armed Forces and their families.

We are the National Gambling Treatment Service Provider for the whole of Wales, as well as much of South West England.

We support people experiencing gambling harms with:

  • structured counselling to help them recover
  • advice and brief interventions
  • providing resources, such as self-exclusion tools and debt support agencies.

Research suggests that Armed Forces personnel are up to 8 times more likely to develop gambling problems than civilians.  For this reason we seek to provide awareness sessions and training across Wales and the South West of England. These aim to ensure that serving personnel, veterans, and armed forces organisations know where to access free and confidential support.

Having signed the Armed Forces Covenant to cement our commitment to support the Armed Forces community, we pledged to:

Provide Gambling Harms Support

We will offer free and confidential treatment to:

  • serving armed forces personnel
  • veterans
  • others affected by the gambling of a loved one in the services.

We will:

  • develop bespoke pathways
  • promote accessibility for armed forces personnel in to our services.

What is the Armed Forces Covenant?

We will uphold the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, which are:

  • no member of the Armed Forces Community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen; and
  • in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate, especially for the injured or bereaved.

Accordingly, we will recognise that personnel are up to eight times more likely to develop problems with gambling than civilians.

Psychologically Informed Interventions

We pledge to ensure that where we meet veterans, we will:

  • recognise the effect of trauma on presentation
  • liaise with partner agencies to work in the best way for these clients
  • ensure this is ongoing across our homelessness, substance misuse, and mental health services.

Gambling: A Hidden Addiction

Gambling is in many ways the “Carbon Monoxide of addictions”.  You can’t see it or smell it the way you can with other addictions such as alcohol and drugs.

When people finally reach out to us for help, they are often at a point of crisis. In addition, they may be facing:

  • bankruptcy
  • relationship breakdown
  • criminal justice proceedings

Improving Mental Health

We want to break through the shame and stigma associated with gambling addiction. Our aim is to get people talking about it. Ideally, this would help combat stigma in the same way that the discourse around mental health has improved in the last twenty years.

Gambling addiction is a key contributor to poor mental health, and it is dangerous.  People suffering gambling harms are 14 times more likely to commit suicide than those without, and of the 5,224 suicides in England and Wales last year, we don’t know how many of these were gambling related (research suggests at least 250 per year).

These are preventable deaths. By reaching out to services early, we (and our partners around the UK) can give people the mental and practical tools to conquer their addiction.  We can also promote liaison with debt agencies to support people to get back on their feet.

How to get in touch and find out more about Ara

Our most important message is people suffering gambling harms are not alone.

There are an estimated 30,000 people with experiencing disordered gambling in Wales alone.

This doesn’t include those at risk of developing harm, or the average of 7 affected others who also experience harms from another’s gambling.

Please get in touch via our Get Support page or give us a call on 0330 1340 286

What support is on offer?

We have a range of interventions on offer, but our most important one is to listen.

  • Welsh and English language counsellors and materials are available
  • Self-exclusion tools and toolkits that help people re-evaluate their relationship with gambling