It is time to talk about something a little bit uncomfortable for many people – including myself.
Men’s mental health, and the links between mental health and gambling.
I love writing about tennis. I love writing to raise awareness for particular things., and I love using this account and website to provide information that I would consider helpful. There are a couple of reasons for writing this article, which I will get to later. Firstly, I want to highlight some statistics.
With each passing year, it becomes easier for people to gamble. You cannot open a newspaper, head to a sporting event or turn on the television or radio without finding yourself exposed to gambling-related advertising somewhere along the way. In 2016, there was an average of 374 gambling ads on TV per day, most falling in prime time periods. Money spent on gambling-related advertising has tripled since the start of the decade.
What isn’t discussed nearly enough is the link between gambling and mental health.
Nearly three out of 4 people with a gambling problem are at risk of developing depression. In some instances, it can be a sign that a person already has a mental health problem that may require assistance.
It is time to start the conversation.
I’ll go first.
Hi, my real name is Steve.
I very nearly walked away from social media a couple of years ago, as things have certainly evolved in the social media landscape over the last decade. Every once in a while there would be a down patch which consisted of:
Post a play.
abuse “nonconstructive criticism”..
abuse nonconstructive criticism both via replies and direct messages.
And occasionally this would repeat and repeat. I made the decision to switch my approach, providing my advice only with the inclusion of a written preview. I wanted people to know why I was suggesting what I suggested, to help make informed decisions for myself and anyone following.
Like anything, there are ups and downs. The downs were made a little easier to take with this work done behind the name of ‘Ace’. It was just easier. I am generally a quiet and reserved person, who will tend to only come out of my shell in situations where I am comfortable. For perspective, I have spent the last couple of days going back-and-forth deciding on whether to post a photo of some new trialled merchandise, just as something that is a little different for 2020.
I’m in no way perfect. Nobody is, even if they want you to believe it on social media.
Social media has never been comfortable. I could almost count on my fingers the number of people that know who I am and that I run this account, and now company. It is work that endures some strange hours and set-ups, but the love of tennis overrides that.
This next part is targeted to males, who do hold a high percentage of my interactions throughout the calendar year on social media. Here is my challenge to you this year:
Acknowledge that sometimes it is okay to not be okay.
We are so good at keeping things to ourselves. When someone takes the courage to step up and say things are not okay, the community does a fantastic job of wrapping their arms around those who are finding things difficult. There are many informal (eg. sending someone a DM) and formal avenues to address mental health and/or gambling. Here is an example for each (for Australian readers):
Mental Health – https://www.mymentalhealth.org.au/page/services/self-care-and-informal-support/helplines-and-online-support/
Gambling – https://www.gamblinghelponline.org.au/
We can be better at supporting everyone, regardless of their situation. We just need to talk.
I will mention this a lot over the next month, however I wanted to highlight that the charity chosen for the Australian Tennis Tip-Off is Beyond Blue. It seems to be a perfect selection given recent discussions, and hopefully we can bring about a decent donation for them at the end of the summer.
Speak to you all in the New Year.
Primary Content Creator – Ace Previews Pty Ltd
References for this article include:
Thomas SA & Jackson AC (2008) Risk and Protective Factors and Comorbidities in Problem Gambling. Report to beyondblue, Monash University and the University of Melbourne