The National Health Service (NHS) of England has partnered with national charity group GambleAware to open the NHS Northern Gambling Clinic in Leeds. The group aims to address gambling addiction issues in the Leeds and York regions.
Leeds has a high rate of reported gambling problems, at twice the national average, so someone decided to do something about it. The NHS Northern Gambling Clinic is the first of its kind outside of London, and Matthew Gaskell, psychologist and clinical lead for the center, explained the gravity of the problem.
“Those diagnosed with gambling disorders often need help with a range of difficulties, including mental health problems,” Gaskell said, “It can lead to serious debt and family breakdown, people losing their jobs, people turning to crime in desperation for funds, and even suicide. In fact, of all the addictions people suffer from, gambling has the highest suicide rate.”
Research by Leeds Beckett University suggests that 7-8% of people in Leeds are either problem gamblers or at-risk gamblers. And that figure includes children from 11-16 who have been identified as being problem gamblers.
The controversy over loot boxes in video games has led to the belief that children are developing gambling disorders while gaming. As a result of this, lawmakers are demanding bans on loot boxes, and the NHS plans to open a gambling clinic for children and youth later this year.
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