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Take it one day at a time

9th September 2016

Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day, Catherine encourages anyone struggling with thoughts or feelings about suicide because of a gambling problem to reach out for support.

GamCare knows very well that it can be hard to reach out if you think you’re at rock bottom and you can’t see a way out. What’s the point, right?

Well, as someone pointed out to me today, the point is that you may feel like you’ve lost everything, but you haven’t lost your life. The future may seem dark right now, but with a little help it can be bright again.

We were joined by the Maytree for a dedicated chatroom about suicide prevention earlier today, and one thing I learnt from them is that each and every one of us really does need to be given the time and space to think through what’s going on in our lives, but sometimes it can help if someone else is around to gently guide us.

Talking is genuinely the first step to figuring out where you go from here – and the more honest you are about what you think and feel, even if you feel that you should end it all, the more you can get out of those conversations. It’s ok to talk about suicide, and it’s more than ok to ask for help.

Being honest, it can be very hard to begin a conversation with someone close to you about feeling like you want to die, but there are lots of ways to reach out anonymously or confidentially, to speak about what you’re feeling – including specialist helplines or other services (see links at the bottom of the page).

It may also be helpful to write down what you’re thinking, perhaps in a diary, or a letter to yourself or someone else. Even if you scrap it ten dozen times and start over, it may give you some clarity and help you think through your options. The GamCare Forum also has plenty of recovery diaries and support from people who know just what you’re going through.

At the Maytree, which is a non-medical residential service in London offering free, one-off stays of up to four nights, the team are trained to listen without judging you. They can give you the space to think and work through your feelings at your own pace. Their befriending service starts at the first phone call, and if you need a little more support when you leave they can point you in the right direction.

Many people who struggle with compulsive gambling tell us they experience feelings of shame, they’re afraid of being seen as weak if they ask for help, they have no-one to blame but themselves.

We don’t talk about blame or who’s at fault – beating yourself up won’t make anything better. What we would say is that reaching out is never weak, it’s quite the opposite. It’s brave, and you absolutely don’t need to be ashamed – let someone know what’s going on in your head and they may be able to help.

One final nugget – it’s been said before and we’ll say it again, seriously – take it one day at a time.


For additional support, you can contact the following organisations:

Samaritans: Call 116 123 or visit

Maytree: Call 020 7263 7070 or visit

Papyrus HOPELineUK: Call 0800 068 41 41 or visit

CALM: Call 0808 802 58 58 or visit


Don’t forget that the National Gambling HelpLine is available every day from 8am-Midnight, on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via web chat on the NetLine. If you feel like speaking to a counsellor, find out more about GamCare services here.

You can also check out additional resources on our page about gambling and mental health.