Expanding its treatment services across the UK, the NHS’s Northern Gambling Service has opened a new clinic in Sunderland which will focus upon the treatment of problem gambling.
The clinic will allow visitors to access support from a consultant psychologist, a consultant psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist and a senior mental health nurse.
The clinic’s consultant psychologist Matthew Gaskell said: “Gambling addiction is a new public health crisis. 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.
“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 us via any of these agencies and charities.”
Claire Murdoch, NHS national director for mental health, added: “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. 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 Sunderland clinic will receive funding from both the NHS and industry charity, GambleAware. The NHS has said that the clinic will offer treatments such as psychological therapies, addiction treatment programmes, mental health treatment, family therapy and peer support.
The clinic follows on from the opening of a clinic in Leeds, which was the first NHS problem gambling clinic to open its doors outside of London. The NHS has since outlined plans to open a clinic in Manchester which would serve those in the North West.