Drug addicts have shared how their obsession nearly drove them to suicide.
After Stacey Goodwin, 28, gambled £50,000 in six days, she attempted to take her own life. Patrick Foster contemplated suicide after racking up £250,000 in debt.
Now in recovery, they both seek to help others like them.
“The Chasm of Depression”
Stacey started gambling while working in a betting shop.
She said: “The first time I placed a bet I won and that’s kind of what made me keep doing it. I had only invested a little and got some money out of it – but it was the thought in my head that drove me completely out of control.
At one particularly low point, Goodwin said, “Honestly, I felt like there was no way out. I was in a pit of depression and addiction and I couldn’t break the cycle and thought the only way out was to kill myself.
‘Out of control’
Patrick Foster found himself in a similar situation, after losing £50,000 on a horse in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018.
By this stage, he admitted, things were already ‘out of control’ – he had 76 different online betting accounts, 23 payday loans and £250,000 in gambling debts. When his horse failed to win, Patrick said he felt like his world had “collapsed”.
“A few days later I quit my job and collected my car keys and drove for three hours. I decided to end my life because I felt it was not there was no other option.
Fortunately, his brother stepped in and, after a period of rehabilitation, Patrick now works for a company that seeks to prevent gambling-related harm.
According to a 2019 study, people struggling with gambling addiction are 15 times more likely to commit suicide than those in the general population.
In the largest study of its kind, academics from Lund University in Sweden followed more than 2,000 problem gamblers over an eleven-year period.
The researchers found that men between the ages of 20 and 49 were at an even higher risk of committing suicide, with suicide rates 19 times higher than the general population.
Women with serious gambling problems up by a third
Gambling industry brings in £14.3bn as problem gambling continues