It’s true that too much of anything is no longer necessarily a good thing. Gambling too, is something that many people become so engrossed in, that it can become a problem when it’s over-indulged in. And yet, it seems that in many countries not enough is being done in order to support those experiencing what is commonly referred to as problem gambling.
The Irish mental health system, for one, isn’t doing anywhere near enough to offer support to problem gamblers. According to a recent study performed by Colin O’Gara, psychiatrist and head of addiction services at Dublin’s Saint John of God hospital, there is only a single body offering sufficient support systems to problem gamblers in Ireland. The results of the study have been published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, and will hopefully raise more awareness around the issue.
Ireland’s Republic Party has urged government to come up with a solution to the growing problem, and to urgently formulate an effective national strategy. Ireland’s Gambling Control Bill was approved 5 years ago, and is currently under review by national government.
In general, public opinion in the country may be completely misleading insofar it relates to the magnitude of the problem. The Institute of Public Health estimates that approximately 40,000 of Irish citizens suffer from an addiction. However, mental health experts claim that the figure could actually be nearer to 110,000.
Ireland’s first survey relating to online gambling was performed in 2017. The survey was also carried out by O’Gara, and it transpired that 64% of people who had indicated that their preference was to play online instead of at a physical location, were of the opinion that they may be, to some degree, experiencing an unhealthy approach to gambling. 62% of participants indicated that at some point, they had wagered more money than what they could afford to lose.
The study also found that no support services for an addiction were being offered at at least half of Ireland’s community care centres. In addition to this, concerning those that did have some form of program or treatment available, it became apparent that there was no uniform set of treatments available. It’s obvious that no standard has been formulated, which in turn indicates quite clearly that treatment isn’t exactly at the top of Ireland’s mental health administration system’s priority list.
The Gambling Control Bill, which has yet to be passed, does make provision for a better system, and the hope is that this will now enjoy priority attention, despite the fact that experts believe that the legislation process is being unduly and even deliberately delayed.
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