Gambling addicts have shared how their obsession almost led them to commit suicide.
After 28-year-old Stacey Goodwin gambled away £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 are both seeking to help others like them.
‘Pit of depression’
Stacey started gambling whilst working in a betting shop.
She said: “The first time I placed a bet I won and that’s kind of what led me into continue doing it. I had only put a bit in and I got a bit of money out of it – but it was the thought in my head that led me to spiral completely out of control.”
At one particularly low point, Goodwin said: “I honestly felt like there was no way out. I was in a pit of depression and addiction and I couldn’t break the cycle and I thought the only way out was to take my own life.”
‘Out of control’
Patrick Foster found himself in similar situation, after he lost £50,000 on a horse at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018.
At that stage, he admitted, things were already “out of control” – he had 76 different online betting accounts, 23 payday loans, and £250,000 worth of gambling debt. When his horse failed to win, Patrick said he felt like his world had come “crashing down”.
“A few days later, I resigned from my job and I picked up my car keys and drove round for three hours. I decided to end my life because I felt like there was no other option.”
Thankfully, his brother intervened and, following time in rehabilitation, Patrick now works for a company that seeks to prevent gambling-related harm.
According to a 2019 study, people battling gambling addiction are 15 times more likely to commit suicide than those in the general population.
In the largest study of its kind, academics at Lund University in Sweden monitored more than 2,000 problem gamblers over an eleven-year period.
Researchers found that men aged between 20 and 49 were at an even greater risk of taking their own lives, with suicide rates 19 times greater than the general population.