Mental Health and Gambling

Gambling involves placing a value on an event that is at least partly determined by chance. This can be done in many ways including buying lottery or scratch cards, playing bingo or sports games and betting on office pools or horse races. It can be an exciting and rewarding recreational activity but it is not risk-free and can have a negative impact on people’s lives, especially when they are struggling with mental health issues.

For some people, gambling can become a compulsive behaviour resulting in problems such as debt, family breakdown and even suicide. If you are worried about your own gambling habits, there is help available. You can talk to a friend, family member or counsellor and there are also support groups for problem gamblers such as Gamlers Anonymous – a twelve step recovery program based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.

If you gamble, try to set time and money limits in advance. This will prevent you from over spending and avoid chasing losses, as the more you attempt to win back your money the worse your overall losses are likely to be. Also, make sure you are not using credit or taking out loans to fund your gambling and don’t use it as an excuse to socialise. Instead, find a new hobby or recreational activity and spend time with friends in other ways. It’s also important to be honest with yourself about your gambling – don’t try to hide or minimise your problem.