Gambling is a concern – I’m worried about myself/someone else

Problem gambling (also known as compulsive gambling, or a gambling addiction) can affect your health, relationships and leave you in debt.

But when does gambling become a problem? Many people gamble for the adrenaline rush, to win money or to socialise, but if you find yourself betting more than you can afford to lose, borrowing money or feel like it’s affecting your daily life, you may need help.

Data indicates that 430,000 people in Britain are problem gamblers, with 55,000 of these being under 16, and is twice as likely to affect people with mental health issues. There is a strong link between gambling problems and thoughts of suicide, with research suggesting that between 4-11% of suicides are gambling related, equivalent to between 250 and 650 deaths per year in the UK.

If you are worried that gambling is affecting your mental health, you can talk to your doctor. There are also charities and organisations that offer support and information for people who may have a problem with gambling, as well as their friends and families.

These include:

GamCare – Provide free information, advice and support, including a forum providing 24/7 online messaging support. You can also call them free on 0808 802 0133. Their online Recovery Toolkit is also really useful. They offer support too for friends and family of someone with a gambling problem.

StepChange  –  If you’re struggling with debt, they will provide you with free, confidential debt advice.

National Problem Gambling Clinic – treats people living in England aged 13 and over who are experiencing gambling harms. The team assesses the needs of gamblers as well as those of their partners and family members. You can refer yourself for care and support.

BigDeal – is a place for young people to get information, advice and guidance about gambling. They also help parents and professionals such as teachers, social workers and youth workers.

Gordon Moody Association – help people to reclaim and rebuild their lives free from gambling addiction in safe, supported environments by providing the most effective therapies, intervention and counselling possible.

Gamblers Anonymous – has been supporting compulsive gamblers since 1957 and provides a range of support groups, meetings, forums, chat rooms and recovery programmes.

Gambling With Lives – set up by parents Pete and Sadie Keogh, who lost their 34 year old son to suicide due to a gambling addiction, they are striving to implement changes in the gambling industry, including improved regulations and awareness, as well as supporting families who have been bereaved by gambling related suicides.

Northern Gambling Service –  provides specialist addiction therapy and recovery to people affected by gambling addiction and other mental health problems, including help for friends and families. You can also call them on 0300 300 1490. This link is to the Leeds and York service. Google ‘Northern Gambling Service’ to find other regional  support services.

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