The workshops, which are funded independently from the gambling industry, aim to educate students on the potential risks of betting and gaming, as well as offering advice on how to seek help for problem gaming behaviour.
Schools throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland received the sessions either in-person or through online sources.
In total, 34,758 students across 191 schools attended the sessions.
A total of 13,821 students across 84 state schools received the sessions free of charge due to Epic’s Gambling Harm Education Programme, which launched in September 2021 and was created in conjunction with addiction and mental health practitioner WHYSUP and Teen Tips.
“If that’s how many we’ve spoken to directly, goodness knows how many brothers, sisters and family members have heard it via that trickle effect – it’s probably far wider,” said Patrick Foster, head of delivery for education and CSR at Epic Risk Management.
“For all of us who facilitate, the bit where it hits home the most is that pupil who comes up to you and says, ‘I have somebody at home who really struggles with this and I now have an understanding of what they’re going through’, or ‘I’m struggling with this myself; this has made me think about my behaviours’ and we’re able to support them.”
Foster added that the impact of the pandemic had made Epic want to deliver more face-to-face sessions as opposed to providing online material.
“The impact of face-to-face delivery and having someone stood up in front of an audience has been so evident to us this year,” Foster continued. “Part of that is a legacy of Covid, with schools having had to digest so much material through online resources.”
“As a result, we’re going to offer even more face-to-face sessions in future, but we understand that there is a place for digital dissemination too, because it offers so much additional reach and it’s instant.”