SINGAPORE: The Thye Hua Kwan Problem Gambling Recovery Centre and the National Addictions Management Service (NAMS) at the Institute of Mental Health saw 1,000 more cases of problem gambling in the last three years compared to the three-year period prior, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said in Parliament on Tuesday (Jul 14).
Mr Tan said the two key service points for treatment saw a combined total of 2,700 cases between 2012 and 2014 – almost 60 per cent more than the number seen between 2009 and 2011.
“The increase is due partly to greater public education efforts, which have raised awareness on problem gambling and encouraged help-seeking behaviour,” he said.
Responding to questions by MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Christopher de Souza, Mr Tan said that the two institutions are available to help problem gamblers and their families, adding that Thye Hua Kwan treats less serious cases, while NAMS also sees to the more severe pathological gamblers. There are also other private and non-funded community and religious organisations offering similar services, he added.
On the types of counselling used to help gamblers “break out of the vicious cycle”, Mr Tan said the treatment plan for each problem gambler varies depending on the severity of his addiction: “It usually involves a combination of counselling and different types of therapy, conducted on an individual or group basis.
“Psychiatric services may be extended for the more severe pathological gamblers. Financial and legal counselling services, where necessary, are also extended to help the problem gambler and his…