Suicide Prevention Australia has recently released the Gambling and Suicide Prevention: A roadmap for change report, prepared in collaboration with Financial Counselling Australia, which examines what can be done to reduce gambling-related suicides.
The reasons people take their own lives are complex with many varied risk factors. Increasingly, attention is being paid to the role of social determinants of health and wellbeing in suicidal behaviour, such as social, economic, and physical environments. Gambling can heighten two key risk factors for suicide: financial hardship and relationship breakdown.
Gambling and Suicide Prevention: A roadmap for change documents a virtual policy roundtable held with representation from the gambling industry, government, financial counsellors and therapeutic gambling counsellors, the gambling and mental health helplines, regulators, coroners, banks, peak bodies, people with lived experience, and others impacted by gambling. The roundtable discussion considered what each sector could do, and what could be done collectively, to reduce gambling-related suicides, and is the first time this topic has been considered in such an extensive way.
Ten recommendations were made, including increased efforts to identify and record gambling-related suicides; and steps that banks, gambling providers and regulators can take to reduce gambling harm. The report calls for improved treatment facilities, training for helpline operators and community awareness of the tools already available.
Gambling harm requires a collaborative public health approach across a range of sectors. While there are many risk factors for suicide, there are also many opportunities to change trajectories for people.