Health PEI saw results in March from a new advertising campaign to debunk some myths about gambling and inform people about its gambling addictions helpline.

The campaign, which included including television ads, ran for two weeks starting in March.


Web-based addiction treatment programs may reach more people, says Margaret Kennedy. (CBC)

The toll-free help line has been operating since 2011, but on average, only seven people have been calling it each month. Margaret Kennedy, director of mental health and addictions with Health PEI, said there were 12 calls to the line in March.

Kennedy said Health PEI is also looking for new ways to reach out to Islanders with gambling addictions. The number of people seen for treatment last year, 21, is considered very low. She said that may be because problem gamblers keep their addiction secret and don't want to be identified, so Health PEI is working on web based programs.

"Research shows that people with addictions in gambling typically don't want to come out and access services, but they might access something on the web, so we're working on that right now," said Kennedy.

Health PEI plans to run more TV ads in the future and have the web-based programs up and running in the next few months.