Problem Gamblers 15 Times More Likely To Commit Suicide

By 13th March 2019Financial Help, News
gambling-and-suicide

Problem Gamblers 15 Times More Likely To Commit Suicide

People with gambling problems are 15 times more likely to commit suicide.

A recent report from academics at Lund University in Sweden, conducted the largest study of its kind, and found “a significantly elevated risk of suicide among participants compared with the general population over an 11-year period.”

The study found that the suicide rate of men, aged between 20 and 49, increased 19 times if they had a gambling problem. This reduces slightly to 15 times when looking at men and women across all ages.

It has been said that if the figures were applied to the UK, then gambling would account for around 550 suicides a year (or more than ten per week).

“This research confirms the high number of gambling-related suicides that Gambling with Lives families brought to public attention after the deaths of our children,” said Charles and Liz Ritchie, who founded the charity after their son Jack took his own life aged 24 following a gambling addiction.

“The lack of recognition of the scale of this problem has been shocking and we call on the government to take immediate action to save lives.”

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GamStop

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GamStop is a free service that lets you put controls in place to restrict your online gambling activities. You will be prevented from using gambling websites and apps run by companies licensed in Great Britain, for a period of your choosing.

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Useful Contacts

Call GamCare on 0808 8020 133 8am – midnight or visit their website at GamCare.org.uk

Talking to people in a similar position is a great way to help yourself. Support groups such as Gamblers Anonymous or SMART Recovery can help put you in touch with people to help keep your gambling under control.

Gambling with Lives – Supporting families bereaved by gambling. Raising awareness of the dangers of gambling. Call 07864 299158.

Samaritans – For Everyone – 116 123
Campaign Against Living Miserably – For Men – 0800 585858
Papyrus – Under 35 Year Olds – 0800 068 41 41

Anders Hakansson, professor of addiction medicine at Lund University and a psychiatrist in a gambling disorder unit, stated, “The causes [of suicide] are very likely to be multi-factoral but it’s likely that some will contribute more than others.”

He said it was hard to isolate the role played by gambling, citing co-morbidity, which refers to the existence of multiple overlapping factors that may be present in subjects who take their own life.

For instance, if a subject was diagnosed with depression as well as a gambling disorder, the likelihood of suicide increased even further but the risk did not appear to rise if substance misuse was added.

He said: “It’s not difficult to argue that gambling contributes very strongly to suicidal thinking, especially when debts are so severe that suicide becomes part of the solution a person thinks about in that kind of crisis, with the feeling of what you have caused to your family members.”

If you are struggling with gambling, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org, then read our Gambling and Debt page for more information.

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