According to a recent study, people who struggle with a problem with gambling have a 15 times higher risk of suicide. Suicide rates increased by 19 times among men between the ages of 20-49 if they reported having a problem with gambling and 15-fold among people of all ages.
While September is coming to an end, the important takeaways from National Suicide Prevention Month are important to carry throughout the whole year. It is critical to promote mental health and raise awareness of suicide prevention, especially for those who gamble.
Here are answers to a few common questions around the connection between suicide and gambling.
Why are suicide rates higher among those who gamble than those who do not?
One reason that suicidal thoughts, ideation, and attempts are high among individuals who struggle with a problem with gambling is because of the distress that comes along with it.
Individuals who have a problem with gambling can experience intense depression and anxiety after losses, struggle financially, or experience low self-esteem. A problem with gambling can often be kept a secret from loved ones, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Additionally, individuals who struggle with gambling can also experience an increased chance of risk-taking behavior, which coincides with a high rate of suicidal ideation.
As a result of all these factors, if individuals reach a tipping point after a considerably hard loss or trigger, the idea of suicide can become to be seen as a solution to all their problems. For more information around mental health and gambling, visit: BeforeYouBet.org/the-issue
Who is at-risk of a problem with gambling?
Although it is important to keep in mind that a problem with gambling can happen to anyone, there are a few groups of Ohioans who could be more at-risk of developing a problem with gambling.
- Males ages 18-44 of any race or ethnicity, are the largest at-risk group.
- Women ages 50 and over and women who live in rural areas.
- Individuals in the African American and Latinx populations.
- Individuals who have had someone in their family who has/had a problem with gambling.
How can I get help for myself or someone else?
There are a wealth of resources available on BeforeYouBet.org for those who need help. This includes a two-minute quiz, a full list of the signs and risks of problem gambling, and educational resources.
There are also ways you can seek treatment if you or a loved one might need it. Please visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness at nami.org/help to learn more about mental illnesses and access services.
The helpline is also accessible 24/7 by calling 1-800-589-9966 or by texting 4HOPE to 741741.