1. ITV Report

New gambling addiction centre for northern England opens in Leeds

The new centre opens its doors today offering support for those with a gambling addiction. Credit: ITV Calendar

A new NHS gambling addiction service for the north of England has opened in Leeds to offer treatment and support to the thousands of adults locally who are affected.

In the UK around 340,000 people are estimated to have a gambling problem, with two million people at risk of developing one, while fewer than 3% are thought to be getting the help they need.

The centre, which is jointly funded by NHS England and GambleAware, aims to help those with severe addictions and provide care for people with mental health conditions, impaired social functioning and anyone who may present more risk of suicide.

Addiction treatment programmes will also support those affected by gambling and their families.

Ann Evans lost her son Alan in 2010, following decades of gambling addiction. Credit: ITV Calendar

Ann Evans lost her son Alan in 2010 after he took his own life due to a gambling addiction that spanned decades. Ann has campaigned for more to be done to help people and says if the support had been around 10 years ago her son may still be alive.

If this had been available 10 years before it was I think we could have prevented Alan doing that, because we'd have been able to help him better to control his gambling rather than keep funding it. This is very important, the fact that people are now getting more educated about what gambling is and what it can do.

– Ann Evans

Those in charge of treatment at the centre say getting the right sort of help is crucial for people who want to turn their lives around.

Gambling is 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. I'm proud to be involved in this much needed service. It is vital that we work together to provide a range of accessible and effective services to reduce these harms.

– Matthew Gaskell, Consultant Psychologist and Clinical Lead for NHS Northern Gambling

Gambling authorities have also shown their support for the clinic.

We welcome and fully support the launch of the new NHS Northern Gambling Service. Earlier this year we launched the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, making it clear how essential it is that people across the country have easy access to support and treatment – where and when they need it. This new service helps deliver on that ambition and we look forward to continuing our close work with the NHS and other partners across the health sector.

– Tim Miller, Gambling Commission Executive Director