Recent research sponsored by GambleAware has indicated a potential link between mental health issues and problem gambling tendencies. Alma Economics, a data analytics entity, spearheaded this study, analyzing the 2022 Treatment and Support Survey.
Through a regression analysis, the study revealed that a rise in the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) score by one unit could amplify the likelihood of an individual facing a mental health condition by roughly 3%. Essentially, people with pronounced gambling issues seem more susceptible to mental health challenges.
Numbers and Statistics
GambleAware’s 2022 report mentioned that about 1.5 million individuals scored 8 or more on the PGSI, marking them as problem gamblers. This was a sharp 23% jump from 2020 figures.
On the mental health front, an estimated 7.5 million people received a mental health diagnosis in 2022, showing an 11% rise from 2020. Depression emerged as the most prevalent condition, affecting 7.2 million, followed by anxiety in 5.7 million and post-traumatic stress disorder in 1.1 million individuals.
Another pivotal aspect of the study highlighted the trauma faced by “affected others,” referring to those impacted by someone else’s gambling, for instance, close family members. In 2022, about 3.5 million people in Great Britain found themselves in this category, marking a 9% increase from 2020. Trust issues ranked as the primary concern among affected individuals, with 1.8 million citing it. Furthermore, financial setbacks, encompassing reduced household income and insufficient funds for substantial family expenditures, touched a million people.
One alarming revelation was the enhanced risk of suicidal thoughts among those experiencing gambling-related adversities. Specifically, financial difficulties might elevate the chances of harboring such thoughts by around 10%.
The Need for Specialized Support
Looking ahead, the study emphasizes the need for specialized support. The report stated, “Our findings found that individuals with higher PGSI scores are more likely to also suffer from mental health disorders.” Tailored assistance might be crucial for those who lean on gambling as a coping mechanism.
Zoë Osmond, GambleAware’s CEO, voiced the significance of understanding the nexus between gambling and mental well-being. She said, “The relationship between gambling and mental health is significant for medical practitioners and gambling support organisations, as it can influence the type of treatment and support that is best suited for each individual.”
She further added, “Our findings suggest that gambling harms not only affect the individual, but also the mental health of those around them. Therefore, practitioners and support groups should encourage and provide mental health support for affected others as well.”
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