HAP App for Gambling Addiction
Client: National Problem Gambling Clinic, UK.
Project type: Group.
In this project, we accomplished research, idea development, prototyping, and app flow together. I took charge of sketching, visual elements, and the user journey.
Problem gambling is the type of issue that affects family life, relationships, personal finances, and sometimes even mental health. We worked for and with the London-based National Problem Gambling Clinic (NPGC) on improving engagement with young people (18-24 year olds). Their problem is two-fold: not only is the number of young people seeking help low, but the rate of non-attendance at the clinic is the highest*. However, GamCare reports that 25-30% of all calls to their helpline are from this age group. We can assume that there is a need not being met by the NPGC.
*Only approx. 3% of the 800 people who contact the National Problem Gambling clinic for help each year are young people.
1. Young people don’t know what treatment entails
Young people don’t have enough information on what lies ahead which is particularly important for them: when they sign up, they want to know what the next steps in treatment are.
2. Feelings of gambling addiction fluctuate - treatment needs to reflect this
Research has shown that emotional fluctuations are particularly prevalent and important among young problem gamblers, most likely because of a more fluid lifestyle, and bigger life changes such as graduating from college, moving away from home etc.
3. Young people in particular have a heightened belief in self recovery, and a higher wish for autonomy
They believe that they can get better without any support and would like to have more control over their own lives as well as their treatment. This points to ways of providing support to help them out of problem gambling.
Hap is a transformed CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) service delivered mostly through digital channels, specifically targeted at young problem gamblers with the aim of improving participants’ engagement. Hap, meaning coming about by chance, takes the form of an app because it is convenient to have the treatment service ready whenever needed the most.
The service currently on offer is referral followed by assessment, followed by 8 weekly lessons of CBT. This inflexible treatment structure doesn't allow for feelings of 'ups and downs' which are a natural part of any type of addiction, and are found to be more prominent in young problem gamblers. By digesting the CBT, it allows participants to follow treatment at their own place, track their progress, with an emphasis on 'self-help'. It also means that treatment can start right after assessment; eliminating waiting time, and responding to a much more 'immediate culture'.
There currently is no gambling addiction service targeted at young people, but a recent trial of an app-based CBT for mental health problems was found to be very successful.