NHS Partnership to help problem gamblers

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust have partnered with charity Beacon Counselling Trust to offer support in the region. The support offered will be tailored to the individual with a range of support tools. The trusts hope a combined approach will benefit the estimated 60,000 in the North West who are problem gamblers.

A clinic

The clinic will offer support to those with gambling problems in the region. © Pexels.

An innovative approach to the rise of problem gambling is being taken by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and Liverpool-based Beacon Counselling Trust. The two have combined to offer not only help and support but access to a specially designed app.

Beacon Counselling Trust are no strangers to offering support for gambling issues. They are one of the main providers of the GamCare support but this is the first time they have directly partnered with a local authority to offer a service directly to the public.

Users of the service will have access to a wide-range of support tools ranging from advice regarding simple tips about self-exclusion to counselling. The counselling service is in most cases offered free of charge, but rather than being one-time event, Lancashire NHS stress on their website that the counselling is designed to help an individual meet goals and to help a person gain control, not necessarily quit gambling altogether.

What makes this campaign special is that residents of Lancashire will have access to a special Gambling Therapy App. The app centres on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which has proved highly effective in treating not only gambling issues but also mental health issues.

The app allows the user to complete a self-assessment questionnaire to identify areas of concern with the app suggesting mindfulness and self-help exercises. Motivation levels are kept up with the app displaying daily motivational quotes. The app will explain how blocking software can be installed on devices to prevent access to online betting services as well as a list of organisations that can be contacted in a crisis.

Perhaps the most useful feature of the app is the access to text based live support with a counsellor. Often, the stigma of having a problem prevents people seeking help, so being able to type confidentially to a trained specialist could make a big difference to people’s lives.

Sue Moore, Director of Strategic Development at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said that problem gambling is often referred to as the hidden addiction and doesn’t receive as much publicity as other forms of addiction, but its results can just be as devastating. She said:

The physical effects are very difficult to see but the impact on individuals and their families can be life changing. This is a massive societal issue that affects people across all age groups. Lancashire Care is pioneering this in Lancashire with the Beacon Counselling Trust. Sue Moore, Director of Strategic Development at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

With over 200,000 in danger of developing a gambling problem in the North West alone according to a Gambling Commission report, local authorities are under pressure to tackle the growing issue of problem gambling. As figures nationally are increasing, other authorities are likely to watch this collaboration with interest.

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