Bishop of St Albans asks Government about link between mental health and gambling

On 2nd June 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on mental health and gambling-related harm.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL4536 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Royal Society for Public Health Problem gambling and suicidality in England: secondary analysis of a representative cross-sectional survey, published on 12 May; and what regulatory measures they have changed as a result of evidence linking gambling-related harm and suicide.

Lord Bethell: Officials have assessed the research article published by the Royal Society for Public Health as a valuable addition to the evidence base about the risk factors of suicidal behaviour but have noted that caution is needed when interpreting the study’s results as the sample size for the problem gambler group is very small and comes from data collected in 2007.

We know that there may be wider lifestyle factors associated with gambling addiction that may link to poor mental health and that gambling addiction can create a cycle of debt which can also have a significant impact on mental health and may, in extreme cases, lead to thoughts of suicide. We committed to addressing suicide risk and gambling in the most recent progress report on the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and the Cross-Government Suicide Prevention Workplan, published in January 2019.