County Voice

County Voice 2019: Issue 4

Libraries support brand new chapter for books on prescription

Libraries across Denbighshire are supporting the Reading Agency’s Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health scheme.

Launched at the national Eisteddfod at Llanrwst in August, the bilingual scheme means that health professionals in Wales can now prescribe free library books to assist people in managing their mental health or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences in what experts behind the scheme are calling ‘bibliotherapy’.

Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health has been developed by The Reading Agency and public libraries, leading health organisations including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mind, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the British Psychological Society and the Royal College of Nursing, as well as individuals who have personal experience of mental health needs and their relatives and carers.

Free copies of the books are now available to members of the public to borrow from all 22 public library authorities in Wales. The books can be recommended by a health professional and borrowed free of charge from a local library, or users can self-refer and borrow the titles as they would any other library book.

Bethan M. Hughes, Denbighshire’s Principal Librarian, said: “Libraries can offer a safe place for people to go within their local communities where they can read a variety of important books, and the Reading Well scheme is a great example of this. The strength of this campaign is that it has so many credible partners behind it including Public Health Wales, Welsh Books Council and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. We are thankful for the support provided by Welsh Government and this collection is more than a list of books – they represent the power and impact reading can have in changing lives.”

The collection provides helpful information and support for managing common mental health conditions, or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences. It also includes inspirational personal stories from people who are living with or caring for someone with mental health needs. These include Reasons to Stay Alive by award-winning author Matt Haig, which explores his personal experience of coming close to suicide at the age of 24, and The Recovery Letters, an anthology of heartfelt letters written by people who have recovered or are recovering from depression.

With mental health conditions representing the largest single cause of disability in the UK, The Reading Agency believes it is vital that this support is accessible to all, and as such is working with Welsh Books Council to translate the books into Welsh.

For more information about the Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health visit:


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