Gambling with Lives trials new support system for treatment of gambling disorders

Gambling with Lives has unveiled its new ‘treatment and support system’, designed by the lived experience of former victims of gambling harms working with health experts to tackle the deep complexities of gambling disorders.

The support charity states that its organisation embarked on a new pathway design, acknowledging that victims of gambling had faced judgement and a lack of understanding when engaging with mainstream health services.

Liz Ritchie, Co-founder of Gambling with Lives, claimed: “It is essential that people harmed by gambling are at the forefront of designing care and treatment for gambling disorder. We know how few people access treatment, how few feel helped, and this design for a care and treatment pathway aims to redress this.”

The project was commissioned as part of Gambling with Lives wider focus on suicide prevention by victims of gambling harm in which its design required direct input from people with lived experience.

Gambling with Lives formed focus groups to share their personal experiences with clinicians and experts on gambling disorders, with the ultimate aim of designing a pathway to provide a comprehensive approach on outreach, information, education and further motivating victims to seek treatment.  

“I see the serious harms caused to people by gambling disorder every day at my clinic,” Commented Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE, Founder and Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London.

An addiction to gambling can affect anyone and can pose a risk to life. It is essential that evidence-based services are led by the NHS to ensure quality clinical standards. I welcome this Gambling with Lives project and the work of people harmed by gambling in helping us to ensure that services are integrated with existing NHS pathways and really meet the needs of our population.”

Changes to Gambling with Lives support will acknowledge the wide-ranging determinants of gambling harm rather than focusing on the responsibility of individuals. It also seeks to ensure frontline professionals across services are aware of gambling harm and how to effectively treat it.

Moving forward to the next phase of this project,, Gambling with Lives has proposed to pilot a pathway based on this design, working alongside partners based in Greater Manchester.

Insights from this process could then be used to raise the standard of the support system of gambling treatment and care across the UK, which could include offering a model for making treatment and care for gambling harms a part of NHS integrated care systems.

Backing the project was Lord Foster of Bath, Chair of Peers for Gambling Reform, who stated: “As parliamentarians work on improving gambling legislation to tackle gambling harm, it’s great to see people who have been harmed by gambling at the forefront of the push to enable more access to evidence-based treatment. 

“Our recommendation for the introduction of a smart levy should help fund such treatment, ensure it’s free of industry influence and led by the NHS.  We welcome the creative work of Gambling with Lives in this area which is rooted in the needs of families.”

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