What could we achieve by changing the narrative?
Looking for an escape from reality drew Kelly into online bingo – a few games that led to an all-consuming gambling addiction and financial and emotional devastation (page 6). This addiction may be ‘invisible’ but the drivers can have much in common with any other form of compulsive behaviour that offers us time away from real life.
‘For many people addiction is a response to trauma that has not been dealt with,’ Alice Wiseman reminds us (page 18) as she shares a public health perspective that feels like an opportunity to collaborate far more actively with our healthcare partners. We’ve grasped the need for ‘trauma-informed’ care – but just look at the outcomes we could achieve if we focused our attention in a really robust way on reducing ACEs, as she suggests, changing the narrative from punishing and criminalising to understanding the causes of behaviour.
Looking for the reason for tragedies never makes for easy reading, but The Suicide Prevention Consortium’s research on alcohol-related suicidal behaviour (page 16) and Martin Smith’s look at causes of drug-related deaths (page 14) are two articles that could have an important role in informing our actions.
Claire Brown, editor
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