National Health System (NHS), UK, has taken steps in ensuring that younger gamblers are not caught up in the overgrowing addiction in gambling. With reports from the UK Gambling Commission indicating that more than 55,000 young people (aged between 13 – 25) are facing gambling addictions, and more than 450,000 are on the gambling spree. This figure shows more people have been ushered to the gambling business as compared to those found taking drugs of any form.
This has prompted the NHS England chief executive, Simon Steven, to take major steps to curb what he says is a vice that has made many lives to be lost and destroyed families.
“This action shows just how seriously the NHS takes the threat of gambling addiction, even in young people. The links between problem gambling and stress, depression and mental health problems are growing and there are too many stories of lives lost and families destroyed”Simon Steven
Steven cited that there was a lot of money pumped by the gambling industry in the marketing and advertising niche but there was less of it spent on dealing with the players who are going through addictions. This has since led to plans of opening various clinics around England to offer support and treatment to the players. One is set to open in London and there will be other 14 clinics spread out within areas like Leeds, Sunderland and Manchester.
This move has since been welcomed and particularly by Jack Ritchie’s parents. Jack Ritchie, from Sheffield, took his own life as a result of gambling addiction. Jack would start gambling at 17 and he would use up his dinner money for the same. At 24 years, 7 years later, he took his own life. His parents claim that all they saw was Jack having fun with gambling and in the end, gambling ‘controlled him’. Welcoming the move, his mum, Liz Ritchie said, ‘Of course it’s wonderful. And if Jack had had a referral there, then it would have probably saved him.’
His parents have since created a foundation dubbed ‘Gambling with Lives’ with the objective being to address the problem that is gambling addiction.
Henrietta Bowden-Jones, National Problem Gambling Clinic Founder and Director, would also weigh in the matter saying that addiction did not discriminate.
“Gambling disorder is a destructive condition which doesn’t discriminate. It wrecks lives, pulls families into debt and can leave people feeling like suicidal”Henrietta Bowden-Jones
With the clinics set to be opened within the year, there has been one clinic in London tailored for addicts above 16 years that a specialist meets the gamblers one-on-one and offer help to them.
Health and Social Care help
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, also weighed on the matter citing the effects it had over the people and how determined he was to help. ‘I have seen first-hand the devastating impact gambling addiction can have on people’s lives and am determined to do everything I can to help anyone affected get the help and support they need,’ he said.
Throwing his weight on the anticipated clinics, he said, “We know that too many young people face their lives being blighted by problem gambling – so these clinics will also look at what more can be done to help them.’