This week saw the publication of the National Gambling Treatment Service’s annual statistics report along with the release of our own quarter two data.
Both were timely, showing that the challenges faced by problem gamblers during lockdown did not diminish as lockdown eased, and illustrated a growing need for more treatment capacity to tackle problem gambling and addiction
The National Gambling Treatment Service’s report put it starkly that problem gamblers are not getting enough help in comparison to other addictions such as alcohol. And although more people are getting treatment for gambling addiction than in previous years the capacity in the service is still woefully short of what is needed.
Our own quarterly report reinforced that conclusion, showing:
Helpline calls are on the increase
- The severity of issues being presented is getting more challenging
- There is a rise in women and people from a BAME background accessing services – 15% of applicants for residential services are non-white British.
- People in the 25-34 age range from the majority of those reaching out for help but the number of over-45s seeking help is on the increase
- Lockdown has seen waiting lists for residential treatment go down at Gordon Moody – great news – and assessments of those urgently needing treatment has gone up, as capacity returns to levels closer to pre-lockdown
- Online and phone outreach interactions are on the rise and services are still massively stretched
Our data and trends show that more people want help and want to talk about the issue. We are seeing a growing demand, showing a massive need for more treatment capacity.
There are so many uncertainties in people’s mind at present, that it is no wonder that so many more are reaching out for help.
It’s heartening to see how positively many of the challenges of lockdown have been addressed, by all organisations working to help problem gamblers.
It’s positive news also that the Welsh Government is piloting treatment centres in Wales and we hope to expand next year, but there is still much more needs to be done.
We urgently need increased support in addressing the big challenges because of the Covid pandemic, that is forcing us to constantly make changes to the way we must operate to ensure people get the support they need.
There is also a need for clear and strong public health messaging that helps support people and get them treatment. It’s time to end the stigma of gambling as the hidden addiction in our society.
We mustn’t ignore the lessons we are learning through the coronavirus pandemic and not lose sight of how things are changing.
Now is a great opportunity to begin a national conversation about how to tackle gambling addiction. It’s something we hope to get started in the near future.
We have our part to play too, this week we have presented to the excellent team at the NHS Northern gambling clinic raising awareness of the treatment we provide and working on referral routes so that regardless of who someone gets in touch with we want to work together to provide a seamless journey into a treatment that meets the client’s needs. The Northern Gambling Clinic do great work and we look forward to continuing our collaborative work in the future. More information on gambling support services provided by the NHS can be found here.
Our 50 years of experience has created a safe environment that helps the most obsessive gamblers to break free from their addictions helping them rebuild their lives through a stimulating programme of residential therapy, dedicated aftercare and the emotional and practical support they and their families need to sustain their recovery. If you are in need of help you can apply to Gordon Moody by visiting https://www.gordonmoody.org.uk/how-to-apply or calling us on 01384 241292.
Gambling in the spotlight
The release of data by GambleAware and Gordon Moody co-inside with a growing interest in gambling harm through the media, we have been approached by a number of journalists and you can keep an eye on GMA in the news by following us on social media. There is growing speculation a review of the current gambling is imminent and gambling addiction is even featuring in the storylines of soaps such as Emmerdale and EastEnders.
Until next week, stay safe, look after yourself and each other.