Swindon Borough Council’s library service has signed up to a new scheme which will use reading to help the 6 million people in England who suffer from conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Reading Well Books on Prescription will enable GPs and other health professionals to recommend 30 self-help titles for people to borrow from their local library.
The service, which has been launched nationally is now being put into place in public libraries across England.
Reading Well Books on Prescription is a joint initiative from independent charity The Reading Agency and the Society of Chief Librarians, working with local library services and LIFT Psychology Teams. 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.
Swindon Libraries in partnership with Wiltshire Libraries will both have multiple copies of the core list of 30 titles covering issues such as anxiety, depression, phobias, panic attacks, bulimia and sleep problems. The titles will be available to borrow free of charge from local library branches or online through the request service.
Cllr Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Strategic Transport and Leisure who is also responsible for libraries, said: “I am really pleased that we have signed up to this initiative as it will be of great benefit to our health partners and to the many people who suffer from common mental health issues.
“We have stocked up on the self-help titles and our staff will be on hand to help anyone who has been prescribed any of the Reading Well books.”
Janene Cox, Society of Chief Librarians, and Debbie Hicks, The Reading Agency, said: “We’re excited to be working together to launch new services in libraries to help people suffering from mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. This is a step change in partnerships between libraries and local heath partners to improve our communities’ health and well-being. Evidence tells us that many people see the local library as a trusted place to go for health information. A library visit can be the first step on the road to recovery.”