First NHS Gambling Addiction Clinic Opens in Sunderland

Jan 07

As part of their efforts to tackle problem gambling, the National Health Service (NHS) has opened a new clinic in Sunderland. The clinic will offer services from a consultant psychologist, consultant psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, and a senior mental health nurse.

Consultant psychologist Matthew Gaskell, who will also serve as clinical lead for the new Sunderland clinic, has expressed happiness over the opening of the clinic. “I’m delighted to be opening our new base in Sunderland,” he said. “This will help make our service more accessible to people in the Northeast where we know there are thousands of people who need our support.”

“Gambling addiction is a new public health crisis,” Gaskell added. “It’s causing serious harm to thousands of people across the UK. This includes mental health problems, serious debt, breakdown of relationships, loss of employment, crime, homelessness, and sometimes, suicide.”

Gaskell believes that the kind of treatment provided at the Sunderland clinic has proven effective in helping gambling addicts move towards recovery. He said, “Through my work in mental health and addictions treatment over the years, I’ve seen the harms that problem gambling can inflict on people. However, the chances of recovery from addictions like problem gambling can be very good with proper treatment. I often see people make good sustained recoveries when they seek help.”

“The Northern Gambling Service works alongside many other agencies and charities to support people. We believe ‘any door is the right door’ and people can either refer themselves for help, or come to use via any of these agencies and charities.”

The Sunderland clinic is set to offer help not only to people who are suffering from severe problems caused by compulsive gambling, but also those who are suffering from associated mental health conditions. The services available at the Sunderland clinic include addiction treatment programs, mental health treatment, psychological therapies, family therapy, and peer support. Besides the Sunderland location, a clinic in Leeds was also opened, and a Manchester-based facility is also set to serve the Northwest soon.

NHS National Director for Mental Health Claire Murdoch says these new clinics are all part of the organisation’s coordinated plan to tackle problem gambling in the country. She said, “The NHS is constantly rising to meet new health challenges. We are fighting back against the misery of mental ill health caused by gambling addiction by rolling out new specialist clinics across the country, as part of our long-term plan.”

“While the NHS will always be there for people--adapting, improving, and increasing different and new treatments as our patients need them,” Murdoch added. “The gambling industry, which rakes in billions of pounds from punters and spends vast amounts on aggressive marketing to reel ever more people in, really has to shoulder the blame and ensure a fair amount of its profits help those in need.” The NHS revealed that in December 2019, the figures show 321 people being admitted to the hospital in England for gambling-related reasons in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. This figure is less than the 2017-2018 figure, but it is also more than double the figure for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.