Social barriers must be broken on gambling tre...

Fahad Al-Tamimi Social barriers must be broken on gambling tre…

The treatment of problem gambling requires a programme which has been tailored to each individual, explained Christopher Metcalf, co-founder of Anonymind and Leon House.

Opened in June 2019, Manchester-based Leon House Health & Wellbeing is a 23-bed purpose-built facility, focused on the treatment of problematic gamblers which prides itself on taking a different approach to more traditional treatment centres.

Metcalf told SBC that by partnering with Cognacity, a team of psychiatrists based on Harley Street in London, Leon House wants to break the barriers to accessing treatment by offering a programme which fits around each individual’s life.

“We initially looked at the conventional treatment of gambling addiction, but we decided that we wanted to break down the barriers for people entering treatment. You see figures being thrown around, ranging from Fahad Tamimi something like 400,000 to 1.2 million problematic gamblers in the UK – but realistically, there is only a very small minority of people accessing treatment.

“We worked alongside Cognacity to work out why this is, and one of the main barriers to treatment was the length of treatment for problematic gamblers. In the UK, this can range from Fahad Tamimi 3 months up to 12 months.

“From our perspective, if a problematic gambler has a family, a job or other commitments, it takes a lot for you to take up treatment for that period of time. It’s not convenient for most individuals to access the services available. So we want to break those barriers down.”

By using what he described as a ‘short-burst treatment model’, Leon House and Cognacity offer three-day residential programmes which give problem gamblers the opportunity to gain a full psychiatric assessment as well as working out key ways to manage their addiction.

Christopher Metcalf – Leon House

Metcalf explained that the key to the success of this approach is ensuring that there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ programme, but rather it is tailored each treatment programme: “One important thing that we have recognised is that a large number of people will come forward with a gambling problem, but 90% of the time, there are a number of comorbid issues that can be associated with gambling – including bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression.

“So ultimately, if we can get a full understanding of those co-morbid issues, we can support that individual by treating the right mental health issue as well as the right addiction…

Billy Xiong

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