People are reaching crisis point before they’re accessing treatment and then the treatment they’re getting is awful… I always say it’s better to have no treatment than bad treatment because I think bad treatment, which some people are going through the likes of [organisation] is going to make people worse and make people suicidal and these people are really vulnerable already and they’re getting shit treatment. So for me, top to bottom the system’s broken… but get it right at the top from government level, it filters down to the regulations and the regulator, have better prevention through awareness, education, and then improved treatment system.
They’re not going to change their business model, but we have to understand that we need to change the aggressive marketing. We need to understand a lot more about the products and how they’re designed and how they’re addictive. That insight will add into the fact that we’re now looking at it’s not just personal responsibility, it’s not just you to blame. That would start tackling stigma. It’s moving away from that whole personal responsibility.
I always feel as if I was escaping from something that was in me that was… gambling was giving me escapism from reality to try and deal with everyday life type of thing. And yeah, arguments with my wife type of thing. That was my excuse to go and gamble again, have a blazing argument, storm out the house, go gamble. I would find an excuse to… or we’d try and plan something or she’d want to do something, and I’d get into an argument with her just so I can go and have my gambling time
I phoned mental health services in Swansea and I voluntarily sectioned myself at a mental health hospital where I was there for three months, and I just went under. I had psychiatrists and that kind of stuff, and they never knew gambling, so they never diagnosed it. They were treating me for anxiety, depression, that kind of stuff and medication to try and keep my mood under control.
What I tell people is it’s not a one size fits all in terms of recovery, right but I will always be a massive, massive advocate for peer support and for lived experience because I don’t think there’s anything more powerful than having an opportunity to share and open up to someone who’s gone through something similar to you