One harmful gambler affects up to 10 family members, friends and work colleagues

One harmful gambler affects up to 10 family members, friends and work colleagues

Up to 4.3 million people across the country are being impacted by a loved one’s harmful gambling, according to the NHS Northern Gambling Service.

The impacts on family and friends include emotional distress, mental health problems, financial difficulties, child neglect, and family breakdown.

The true prevalence of serious gambling problems and scale of gambling harm is unknown. According to a YouGov survey in 2020 there were 1.4 million with serious problems, whereas the Gambling Commission estimate is over 400,000 men and women.

“Each one of those suffering with gambling harm have friends, families and colleagues that are being affected, leading to significantly disrupted lives and families,” said Matt Gaskell, Consultant Psychologist and Clinical Lead of the NHS Northern Gambling Service.

“Most of these affected friends and families suffer in silence, not because they want to but because they don’t know there is help and support out there for them.

“We have a dedicated ‘affected others’ programme aimed specifically at helping friends and families learn skills to reduce stress and increase confidence to cope with their loved one’s gambling – and this is available even if he or she isn’t seeking help themselves.”

Some of the common problems reported by family members include:

  • loss of household or personal money
  • an increase in family arguments
  • anger and violence within the family
  • evidence of lies and deception
  • a breakdown in effective communication
  • confusion of responsibilities
  • the development of gambling problems in other members of the family

The NHS Northern Gambling Service has three regional clinics – in Leeds, Sunderland and Manchester – and many of the affected others services are available through online sessions and consultations.

Categories: Health