FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswickers are encouraged not to hide big problems with small talk as the province observes Gambling Awareness Week, March 13-17.

“Your government understands the importance of support for those with mental health illnesses and addictions. While we have made great strides in reducing the stigma around mental health challenges, there is still a stigma around problem gambling,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “I encourage those struggling with their gambling to not hide behind the small talk, and reach out for help. Recovery is possible, and there are many resources available for those who need them.”

A person that is struggling with problematic gambling will usually exhibit one or more of the following traits:

  • family history of addiction, abuse or neglect
  • recent loss, trauma or stress
  • early positive associations with gambling
  • belief in “magical thinking” and illusions about the odds of winning

In New Brunswick about 23,000 adults are at a high risk of developing a gambling problem, and it can have serious consequences on finances, relationships, employment and mental, social and physical wellness.

The provincial government recently launched a television ad focused on reducing the stigma around mental health illnesses and addictions. The campaign, Don’t hide big problems with small talk, encourages New Brunswickers to talk to others about all forms of mental illness, and to seek help and support.

Information on problem gambling is available online, at addiction centres, or by calling the confidential, toll-free, 24-hour New Brunswick Gambling Information line at 1-800-461-1234. Resources are also available for friends and families who are concerned that a loved one may have a problem with gambling.

The New Brunswick Family Plan aims to improve the lives of all residents by addressing the factors that have the greatest impact upon health and well-being. It focuses government action in seven priority areas, including supporting people with mental health and addictions challenges.