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Gambling information, advice and support for young people

Students and mental health – where to turn to for support

Whether you’ve moved to college or university, it can be scary facing lots of new challenges. Making new friends, coping with a different workload, managing your money, and paying student fees are all challenges that can add up without realising. As a result, students can often feel anxious, worried, or overwhelmed. If things are already difficult, having money worries on top can also feel too much.

In these circumstances, it’s natural that some students may turn to gambling to distract themselves from their own pressures, or even look to gambling to make money. Though gambling is legal and anyone over 18 in the UK can do it, no gambling is ever entirely risk-free. Gambling can be a risky activity and can often quickly get out of control. A few of the things which could make this more likely to happen are:

· parents or family members who gamble

· being introduced to gambling at an early age

· pressure from your friends or peers to gamble

· experiencing a big win at an early stage

However, the most important thing is to recognise when your gambling may be going too far or start to negatively impact your life. Signs when this might be the case, commonly include becoming more withdrawn from usual hobbies, changes in mood, chasing your losses, needing to borrow money from family or friends, or hiding the extent of your gambling from friends.

If any of these feelings are familiar, our BigDeal website has a host of tips and tricks to help you keep things on track and ensure your gambling isn’t going too far. You can also call or live chat the National Gambling Helpline now for free advice and information on gambling. There are also plenty of great places and websites that can help you support your mental health. Your college or university is a great start and will have its own support services. You can also visit:

· Mind – The charity has local charities in most areas. It offers a wide range of support, from advice and guidance to therapeutic support. You can find your local Mind here.

· The Mix – A charity that provides essential support for under 25s. · Kooth – an online mental wellbeing community where you can access free, safe, and anonymous support.

· Shout – The UK’s first free, confidential 24/7 text support service, if you find yourself overwhelmed or unsure how to cope and want to talk to someone.

· On My Mind – Suppose you want to prioritise self-care but don’t know where to start. In that case, you can find almost 100 ideas on the On My Mind website and their Youth Wellbeing Directory to find local support services by Anna Freud.

However you feel, whatever you’re struggling with, know that you are not alone and that there is support available. Taking that first step of asking for help can be scary, but you never have to deal with anything completely alone. You can read Matt’s story about gambling at uni here.