Expanding its recovery facilities throughout the UK, the Northern Gambling Service of the NHS has opened a new facility in Sunderland to concentrate on problem gambling care.
The clinic will give visitors access to support from a psychologist consultant, a psychiatrist consultant, a clinical psychologist, and a senior nurse for mental health.
Matthew Gaskell, consultant psychologist at the clinic 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 NHS and business charity, GambleAware, will finance the Sunderland clinic. The NHS said the facility would provide services such as psychiatric counselling, treatment programmes for alcohol, mental health treatment, family therapy, and peer support.
The clinic follows the launch of a clinic in Sheffield, the first NHS gambling facility to open its doors outside of London. Since then, the NHS has announced plans to open a Manchester clinic to support those in the North West.