Library services in England estimate that over 100,000 people with mental health problems have engaged with the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme since it was launched by English public libraries in June 2013, based on loan figures of recommended titles which have increased by 145% during the first three months of the scheme.
The initiative provides self-help reading for adults based on cognitive behavioural therapy for a range of common mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, phobias and eating disorders. The scheme supports people to self-manage by signposting to expert-endorsed book-based therapy available for free from public libraries, either as a stand-alone treatment or alongside other approaches such as talking therapies or medication.
Debbie Hicks, Reading Agency Director of Research, said: “We are delighted to be working with Society of Chief Librarians and health partners including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Nursing and the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme to deliver this important early intervention community health service. The scheme works within NICE clinical guidelines and has got off to a strong start as more and more prescribers including GPs come on board. We are also finding that lots of people are using the scheme as a self-help service.”