A pilot scheme has been launched in Aberdeen to help people addicted to gambling.
The Gamble Aware charity rolled out the £100,000 campaign to make sure north-east residents know how to get access to counselling and advice services.
Helpline details will be plastered across buses and there will be adverts on the radio and online websites.
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Work will also be carried out with students attending colleges across the region to make them aware of where to get help.
It is estimated that about 230,000 Scots either have a problem with gambling or are at risk of becoming addicted.
The pilot scheme has been designed to see how far the Gamble Aware message can be spread ahead of a wider, national campaign launched in the new year.
Iain Corby, the charity’s deputy chief executive, said: “Only 2% of people with a gambling problem come forward for help.
“We don’t know if that’s because they don’t know who to turn or, or if they’re just reluctant to.
“So with this campaign we want to remove the chance that they don’t know how to get help.”
For advice on how to speak to a loved one about their gambling, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133. pic.twitter.com/MIs4eUsv7L
— BeGambleAware (@BeGambleAware) November 13, 2018
Gamble Aware offers a range of services for those concerned about their problem as well as their family and friends through fellow charity The RCA Trust.
Mr Corby added: “A lengthy telephone call can be enough to give someone the tips they need to get their gambling under control.
“Others might prefer an online chat or face-to-face counselling and we can do this over a course of four to six weeks.
“We do offer a 13-week residential rehab programme if it is needed.”
Earlier this year Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart called for the maximum bet on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to be reduced from the “farcical” £100 to £2, highlighting the “tragic consequences” that can arise from gambling addictions.
Mr Stewart said: “I have been quite shocked at how many people have been affected by problem gambling, particularly focusing on people using FOBTs and online apps.
“I’m very grateful to GambleAware and its other partners, and I’m extremely pleased this pilot is launching in the north-east.”
Gamble Aware runs the website BeGambleAware.org, which helps 2.7million visitors a year, and supports the National Gambling Helpline which can be accessed by calling 0808 8020 133.