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Books on Prescription launches

This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.

Published: 10/06/2013

We are lending our support to a national scheme which uses reading to help an estimated six million people in England who suffer from conditions such as depression and anxiety. There are 30 Reading Well Books on Prescription titles available to borrow from all of our libraries including topics such as anxiety, depression, phobias, panic attacks, bulimia and sleep problems. As part of the scheme, GPs and other health professionals working in the area can recommend people come to their library and borrow a book from the collection where appropriate.

South Gloucestershire Council was the lead authority for the bid to the Arts Council England (ACE) which resulted in the national scheme being implemented and then rolled out to public libraries across England. Our library service works closely with LIFT Psychology, part of the South Gloucestershire Wellbeing therapies service. LIFT provides support through GP surgeries to people with common mental health difficulties such as anxiety, stress and low mood. The staff are able to use the recommended books with patients to help them manage their mental health issues.

Cllr Claire Young, Chair of Communities Committee, said: “South Gloucestershire libraries work closely with a range of partners to improve the health and well-being of our communities. Being able to go to your local library and access these titles can be the first step on the road to recovery for some residents. Like all councils, South Gloucestershire Council is now responsible for public health and this scheme is a great example of how the local authority can work together with partners in health to address one of the major health issues in England.”

Mark Pietroni, Director of Public Health for South Gloucestershire, added: “With so many people experiencing mental health issues, the Books on Prescription scheme is an important option to help people work through the issues with a recommended self help book. People can either be recommended a book by a health professional or pick up a book at their convenience when visiting the library. Reading Well Books on Prescription is not designed to replace existing care, but can be a useful addition to pharmacological or psychological treatment, or a first step to recovery for the millions of people who are suffering in silence at the moment.”

Reading Well Books on Prescription is a joint initiative from independent charity The Reading Agency and the Society of Chief Librarians, working alongside local library services. It offers people self-help books from the library as part of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) prescribed by a health professional. The scheme works within National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines which recommend the approach for a range of common mental health disorders.

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