Pupils In England To Be Taught Gambling Can Lead To Suicide

May 20, 2024
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The UK’s Department for Education is updating its statutory guidance on relationships, sex and health education for teachers and governing bodies in England, including what students should know about gambling and its risks.
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The UK’s Department for Education (DfE) is updating its statutory guidance on relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) for teachers and governing bodies in England, including what students should know about gambling and its risks.

The DfE’s draft guidance was published on May 16 and states children should be aware: “Gambling can lead to serious mental health harms, including anxiety, depression, and suicide, and that some gambling products are more likely to cause these harms than others.”

Children in England should also be aware of relevant legal provisions around various topics including gambling, according to the DfE.

Pupils are also expected to know about “the risks related to online gambling and gambling content within gaming, including addiction and the accumulation of debt, how advertising and information is targeted at them and how to be a discerning consumer of information online.”

James Grimes, the head of prevention at charity Gambling with Lives, said: “We welcome this guidance as DfE is clearly learning from gambling-related deaths and lived experience of addiction.”

“Young people deserve the full picture about the impact of addictive gambling products and the link to mental health harms and suicide,” Grimes said. 

The guidance, which primarily addresses new age ratings on RSHE content, has been updated after the government received “multiple reports of disturbing materials” being used in RSHE lessons.

However, it has also been changed “to help young people to understand the benefits of rationing time spent online and the impact on their wellbeing, and the serious risks of viewing content that promotes self-harm and suicide”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I will always act swiftly to protect our children and this new guidance will do exactly that while supporting teachers to teach these important topics sensitively and giving parents access to curriculum content if they wish.”

The draft guidance is now open for consultation, which closes on July 11, 2024.

When it is final, “the guidance will be statutory and schools will be expected to follow it”.

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