The persistent stigma surrounding harmful gambling is preventing the vast majority of those experiencing problems from speaking openly, a charity has warned.
Three quarters (75%) of those who experience problems with gambling do not feel able to open up to family and friends, a survey for GambleAware suggests.
A quarter of adults (23%) think they know someone who has experienced harmful gambling but 61% have put off speaking to them due to concerns around stigma, according to the poll.
GambleAware has launched a public health campaign to reduce stigma by seeking to change perceptions and understanding of the “hidden and complex” issue.
“Gambling harms can affect anyone, which is why it is so important that we break down the stigma associated with it and encourage people to come forward and talk about gambling harm.
“It’s about time we put an end to stigma and opened up the conversation about gambling.”
The survey found 62% of people agree those experiencing gambling harms are judged negatively.
President of the Royal College of General Practitioners Clare Gerada said: “Gambling harms are a serious public health issue and can affect anyone. They can manifest in various ways, including mental or physical health issues.
“General practitioners and the wider health sector can play a crucial role in addressing the issue of gambling harms, by supporting those who experience the harm directly.
“This campaign is an important step to encourage people and those in the sector to open up the conversation and signpost towards the lifesaving tools and advice that are available.”
YouGov surveyed 18,305 adults online for GambleAware’s Annual GB Treatment and Support study between October 31 and November 23.
Those worried about harmful gambling can search GambleAware or contact the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133.