Posted on: Feb 8, 2021, 3:52 am.
Last update on: February 8, 2021, 4:12 am.
A rash in recent U.S. gaming property suicides isn’t surprising given some risk factors, according to a Tennessee psychologist following the gambling problem.
Dr. Lesley Dickson, a past president and executive director of the Nevada Psychiatric Association, as shown above. In a 2018 talk, she told health professionals it was a myth that most suicides chose to really die. (Image: Las Vegas Business Press)
Dr. James P. Whelan, director of the Institute of Gambling Education and Research at the University of Memphis, said that suicide cases on gaming properties are due to depression and other disorders sometimes associated with addictive gambling.
For example, last month a nameless 29-year-old Philadelphia woman jumped from an upper floor of the Ocean Casino Resort parking garage in Atlantic City onto the street where she died, police said.
Another incident occurred last October when a 28-year-old Kentucky woman was fatally shot and killed at a Halloween party on the dance floor at the Buffalo Bodega Gaming Complex in South Dakota.
The specific cause of the self-inflicted deaths in both cases was not disclosed by the authorities.
However, based on research, Whelan suggests that suicide can sometimes ensue when someone becomes depressed, impulsive, has a gambling problem, or loses more money than they can afford.
It is also an urgent problem when someone suffers from major depression. In fact, major depression is more common among problem gamblers than the general population, Whelan said.
“As for gamers, we know that suicide attempts and suicidal rates are particularly high among those with symptoms of a gambling problem,” Whelan told Casino.org. “… It is not surprising that someone goes into a casino or gaming venue and commits suicide.”
Less likely, a suicidal person may be a relative or significant other of a problem gambler, Whelan said.
Some also go to casinos to commit suicide for being public places, Whelan confirmed.
Also, arcades can attract vulnerable people in need of cash or access to cash, and possibly even someone involved in sex trafficking, Whelan said.
The number of suicides in gaming features should lead casinos to act proactively.
“Prevention is difficult, but probably worth it [it for] Casinos to consider, ”Whelan said. “It could be especially important in places where there has been a suicide.”
The casino security guards, property managers and other staff could be given a plan to provide visitors with hotline numbers and suicide prevention information.
Nevadans at risk of suicide
In addition, the gambling mecca of Las Vegas has one of the highest suicide rates among US cities.
In recent years, the entire state of Nevada has been ranked between the fourth highest and eleventh highest US states in terms of suicide rates, according to the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention. More than half of those who commit suicide in Nevada shoot themselves fatally.
But help is available. In 2018, Dr. Lesley Dickson, past president and executive director of the Nevada Psychiatric Association who taught at UNLV, told health professionals: “It is a myth that most suicides choose to really die. ”
Suicides usually want to live
“Most suicides are desperate to live, and many will seek help immediately after trying to harm themselves,” Dickson was quoted by the Las Vegas Business Press as saying. “Even people who jumped off the Golden State Bridge and survived are glad they survived despite the injuries they may have sustained.”
For prevention information, see the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or SMS TALK to 741741.