Frontline staff trained to help problem gamblers as review finds 6,000 people "at risk of addiction"
Vital training has been given to frontline staff from the voluntary and public sectors to help them identify people suffering from gambling-related harm.
Delivered by Citizens Advice's Gambling Support Service, the training will help staff, who regularly talk to residents about financial help or support, spot signs of problem gambling.
Problem gambling affects individuals, their families and the wider community with those affected facing problems such as financial issues, debt, relationship difficulties as well as physical and mental health problems.
A Scrutiny Review undertaken by the Council's Adult Social Care and Health Select Committee recently estimated there were over a thousand people in Stockton-on-Tees classed as problem gamblers, with a further 6,000 deemed to be at-risk of developing an addiction.
Councillor Jim Beall, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: "There are many people who have a flutter and take pleasure in small stakes - for example, bingo in a social setting.
"However we know that it can be a problem for some akin to other addictions.
"The Scrutiny Review found that a greater preventative approach is needed and that is why this training has been delivered to help staff who deal with customers to identify and support people who are struggling with gambling-related issues.
"Gambling can have a severely negative impact on the physical health and mental wellbeing of problem gamblers but also that of their families and friends.
"Hopefully training like this will aid frontline staff in being able to identify when a person comes looking for support that their problems may be related to gambling and refer them to the help they need."
If you are looking for gambling help, advice or support freephone 0808 8020 133.