Gambling addicts find support with pioneering new service

According to the Gambling Commission, there are around 60,000 problem gamblers in the north west
According to the Gambling Commission, there are around 60,000 problem gamblers in the north west

A new service has been launched to help people in the grip of gambling addiction.

With an estimated 60,000 problem gamblers in the North West and 200,000 at risk of addiction according to the Gambling Commission’s latest data, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust has partnered with a Liverpool-based counselling charity to provide bespoke support to people who are addicted to or harmed by gambling.

Problem gambling can harm people’s health and relationships, can leave them in serious debt and may also be linked to suicide and other negative impacts on families. Because of this, the new service will deliver additional support to people who suffer as a result of problem gambling.This unique arrangement, one of the first of it’s kind in the UK, will bring major benefits to the population of Lancashire.

Beacon Counselling Trust (BCT) is the main provider of GamCare treatment for those affected by problem gambling in the North West of England and to begin with, practitioners in the Trust’s Mindsmatter Service and young people’s services have been upskilled by BCT staff to identify, and signpost people in a timely manner into the the GamCare Treatment Network or to be supported as part of the GamCare Youth Outreach Programme.

Sue Moore, Director of Strategic Development at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Problem gambling has been called the hidden addiction, this is because it hasn’t been given the same prominence, unlike other addictions such as alcohol or drug addiction. The physical effects are very difficult to see but the impact on individuals and their families can be life changing. This is a massive societal issue that affects people across all age groups. Lancashire Care is pioneering this in Lancashire with the Beacon Counselling Trust.

“While the vast majority gamble with no significant negative consequences, a minority gamble to an extent which can seriously damage or disrupt their family, personal and working lives. Being a problem gambler also has major influences on mental health and can make people anxious and depressed or exacerbate existing mental health problems.”

According to the Health Survey for England, Scotland and Wales in 2016, the most popular forms of gambling among both men and women were buying National Lottery tickets, buying scratch cards, participation in other lotteries and betting on horseracing (not online). Among men, the next most popular forms of gambling were online betting with a bookmaker and betting on sports events. For women, the next most popular form of gambling was bingo (not online).

For support with Problem Gambling visit: https://www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/help/crisis/24