We know that gambling within the UK has to operate under strict regulations; which includes telling people of the support they can get if they have a gambling issue. All gambling promotions and adverts have to be put together under strict criteria to ensure that people aren’t tempted to partake if it is something not suitable for them. With such strict guidelines, you might assume that anyone in the UK can get access to gambling addiction help if they need it, but actually recent studies show this isn’t always the case.
Seeking Help For Gambling Addiction
Being in the throes of any addiction is never easy to admit, so once you’re at the stage of recognising there is a problem you probably want to have help and support as soon as possible. Throughout the UK several gambling support networks are able to offer support for those suffering from addiction. However, recent studies show that minorities in the UK don’t always seem to be able to access the same level of support as everyone else.
A recent study by Dr Omair Ahmed has shown that in many cases, people from an ethnic minority group are less likely to be able to access addiction services. In fact, it went on to show that around 85% of people that did have help with addiction in the UK between 2015 and 2016 were White British.
What Happens If People Don’t Get Help
When someone is addicted to any behaviour it can quickly start to impact on their everyday life. When something such as gambling starts to become a problem, it can mean that day to day tasks fall by the wayside as the person becomes focused on just their next bet. By its definition, gamblers don’t always win – however, they will become fixated on the times they did win and how the next win will make up for all of their losses. It never works like this and instead, long term gambling addiction can lead to the breakdown of relationships, depression, loss of job and even physical health problems.
What Are The Government Doing About It?
In recent years the Gambling Commission has taken steps to limit the amount of money that can be bet at one time on things such as slot machines. Previously people were able to spend hundreds of pounds in just a few minutes by using high stake machines to get their gambling fix. This was stopped and now the most you can bet per spin is £2. There is also a limit on how many spins can take place in a short amount of time.
Online gambling is something that has increased in popularity massively and as such, they are considering the same stake restriction for online gambling too. Currently, you are able to bet high amounts of money per spin on an online slot machine which means that betting large amounts of money in a few minutes is pretty easy. They are looking to place restrictions on these, to make it much harder to bet large amounts of money in one go.
Why Is It So Hard For Ethnic Minorities To Get Help?
Studies have shown that ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected. Mental health services within the UK are already stretched and seeking help for gambling addiction is no exception. However, if you are from an ethnic minatory background then there are often language barriers that can make getting help and support harder. For example, most leaflets that tell people where they can go for support are written in English, which means that someone who struggles to read the language may find it hard to know where support is available.
Recent studies also showed that communities did not trust help services that did not cater to their needs. Lots of these communities are tight-knit and value their privacy, so discussing problems or issues outside of this circle is a big deal. If they feel that they aren’t catered for then they may feel that they cannot trust how confidential the service will be. We know that there are long wait times for accessing gambling addiction support, especially for those that have extra needs such as a translator or written support in different languages.
What Can Be Done?
Ultimately, access to help for gambling support needs to be more diverse and accessible. This means making sure that meetings are held in places that everyone can access and that literature is available in a variety of languages. In areas where there is a strong presence from one country, there would be steps taken to ensure that help and support are offered in the languages that are most prevalent in these areas.
The waiting time for seeking any sort of help for mental health and addiction needs to be significantly reduced, although this will take government funding and may not be something that can happen overnight. Those that do offer support should be trained on cultural differences and how people from different backgrounds may need to have a different approach when it comes to fixing any issues like this. The UK is a diverse country and it is essential that all services and the staff within these services have the knowledge to make sure that everyone, no matter their background is catered for.
Within our communities, we need to make sure that talking about any sort of mental health concern or adduction issue becomes much less of a taboo. It can be hard to admit that you have a problem and even harder to tell others about it – because people are embarrassed and ashamed of the situation they have gotten themselves in. It is important to take away this stigma and make sure we do everything we can to keep communication open. When people have a support network that they can rely on they are more likely to lean on these and find themselves being able to break free of their addiction.