“The relationship between gambling and mental health is significant for medical practitioners and gambling support organisations,” stated GambleAware following the publication of fresh research.
This study, conducted by Alma Economics, utilised data from GambleAware Annual GB Treatment and Support Surve, however, the charity did note that these figures “are likely to be an upper estimate of prevalence in Great Britain”.
It was discovered that 47 per cent of those that experience the most serious gambling harms (classified as PGSI 8+) are likely to have a severe mental health disorder, such as feeling depressed, compared to 16 per cent of people that don’t gamble.
Nick Spyropoulos, Managing Director, Alma Economics, said: “We are pleased to share the findings from this research. Research into the links between gambling harms and mental health has not been done in this depth, so we are pleased to increase the knowledge base.
“This research can help us learn more about the link between gambling harms and poor mental health and what can be done to help people receive the support they need going forward.”
GambleAware also noted that further findings include those classified in the PGSI 1+ category being four times more likely than non-gamblers to experience suicidal thoughts (26 per cent versus six per cent).
People classified as experiencing gambling problems on the PGSI were found to be more likely to have been diagnosed with an anger disorder or ADHD.
Furthermore, those classified as PGSI 8+ were found to make up about 2.7 per cent of the total population but account for an estimated 26 per cent of those with an anger disorder, and 15 per cent of those with ADHD.
Alma Economics also looked at the impacts of affected others, with it discovered that “common negative effects” on mental health include feeling depressed or sad, and having anxiety.
In addition, experiencing harms such financial concerns due to someone else’s gambling was associated with a 10 per cent increase in the probability of an affected other feeling suicidal.
“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,” commented Zoë Osmond, GambleAware Chief Executive.
“Depending on the underlying mental health condition, different types of support may be necessary to help those who use gambling as a form of self-harm or a calming mechanism.
“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.”
GambleAware noted that it will be commissioning additional research in a bid to try and find out more about the connection between poor mental health and riskier gambling.