Problem gamblers at higher risk of suicide, study finds

People with a gambling problem are 15 times more likely to take their own life, according to the largest study of its kind, prompting calls for swifter action by the government to tackle betting addiction.

Academics at Lund University, Sweden, monitored more than 2,000 people with gambling disorders, finding a significantly elevated risk of suicide among participants compared with the general population over an 11-year period.

The study found that suicide rates increased 19-fold among men between the ages of 20 and 49 if they had a gambling problem and by 15 times among men and women of all ages.

The authors of the research said that while the causes of suicide were complex and likely to involve more than one factor, their work indicated gambling disorders were associated with far higher than average rates of suicide.

Campaigners said that if the same results were applied to the UK, the Swedish study would indicate around 550 suicides a year in which gambling played a part, or more than 10 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.”

There is just one specialist problem gambling clinic in the UK, although a second is due to open in Leeds after the government promised greater funding for treatment as part of a 10-year plan for the NHS.

Full story: Guardian

Author: Philip Challinor
Posted on: 13th March 2019