This week, public libraries are launching a new service called Reading Well Books on Prescription to help people through self-help in book form. This means people can go to their library for books which experts and many GP’s have endorsed as helping with conditions such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, phobias and some eating disorders.
On 4 June the official launch of the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme took place at The National Association of Primary Care, attended by Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey, and Minister of State for Care and Support, Norman Lamb. The event was supported by the National Association for Primary Care and Campden Health.
One in four people will experience mental health problems during their lives. There are an estimated six million people with anxiety and depression, yet three quarters get no treatment. Reading Well Books on Prescription uses book-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help people understand and manage common mental health conditions. We have been developing the scheme with the Society of Chief Librarians and local library services.
James Kingsland, GP and champion of the scheme says:
“We’re all looking for new ways to help patients with mental health problems improve their self-care and general well-being, especially in such tough economic times. The usual GP appointment of 10 minutes is rarely sufficient for these patients, so extra tools to compliment the consultation and provide on-going help and motivation are necessary. Reading Well Books on Prescription is brilliant. It will enable me and my fellow GPs to recommend book based cognitive behavioural therapy from libraries. This can be as a stand-alone treatment or alongside medication and other psychological interventions. This really is integrating care.”
Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care and Support, says:
“Around six million people each year have depression or anxiety. This figure is increasing year on year and we need to make sure that the help and support is there for them in their time of need. The Books on Prescription scheme is a good way to see people getting this support, either as a standalone treatment or alongside other approaches such as talking therapies or medication. It can help someone to self-manage their own condition or provide them with the information they need to seek more help. This is about empowering and informing people which is so important, particularly as we know that some people are often hesitant to access conventional forms of support when it comes to mental health. I am glad to see that such books will be publicly and readily accessible on library shelves, encouraging dialogue and underlining what I have always believed – that mental health is everyone’s business.”