Derbyshire NHS Launches Support for Gambling Addiction

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The Derbyshire Healthcare (NHS) Foundation Trust has set up a mental health and support service for individuals who can't control their gambling behavior or grappling with gambling addiction.

Named the East Midlands Gambling Harms Service, the initiative is run by a team of NHS workers, including clinical psychologists, mental health practitioners, psychiatrists, and social workers. The service is free and accessible to problem gamblers across Derbyshire and the East Midlands, including Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, and Rutland.

The service provides support through virtual treatment programs and group workshops. Face-to-face support is also an option where it is considered more appropriate.

The team uses various therapeutic approaches to treat people suffering from gambling addiction, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Psychodynamic psychotherapy, which addresses emotional and relational challenges that can contribute to and sustain problem gambling.

Individuals can also get additional and personalized help for their specific problems. The East Midlands Gambling Harms Service collaborates with several other agencies and services that can aid its efforts on mental health, debt management, and housing.

Commenting on the new development, Chris Kershaw, a recovered gambler from Kegworth in Leicestershire, stated that the service would "help people lead better, more fulfilling lives."

Kershaw started gambling on fruit machines when he was 13 years old. The habit intensified as he grew up to betting heavily on sporting events, including football and horse racing, via betting shops and online.

For me 24/7 compulsive gambling led to a breakdown and suicide attempt in February 2006. I lost everything - not just money but also many relationships, which had a massive impact on my mental health.

Chris KershawRecovered Gabmbler

Kershaw's breakthrough came via a support group which, he said, turned his life around. He hadn't gambled for the last 17 years.

Gambling Act Review Targets Safer Market

The United Kingdom has a very lucrative and regulated online betting market. According to recent data based on the UK Gambling Commission's quarterly telephone survey, about 44% of people in the country participate in any gambling activity. From this figure, around 300,000 individuals are believed to be problem gamblers.

Last October, while celebrating its 25th anniversary, GamCare, which is the top gambling charity in the UK, published its 2021-22 annual report showing over 42,000 calls and online chats to its National Gambling Helpline. The charity also reported that it had 9,728 people in treatment sessions.

To reduce problem gambling in the UK and ensure a safer gambling market, the UK government released its Gambling Act review white paper in April. The review outlines a new approach to the regulation of online gambling in the UK with measures like increased affordability checks, stake limits, new advertising laws, and the creation of an ombudsman for dispute resolution.

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