Inspire marks World Mental Health Day

Published 10th September 2016

To mark World Mental Health Day (10 October), Inspire who delivers libraries on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council would like to encourage library users to take advantage of the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme, part of the Public Libraries Universal Health Offer. 


Nottinghamshire libraries offer all three of the Reading Well Books on Prescription collections which include the core collection of common mental health conditions, the Dementia collection and the new ‘Shelf Help’ collection aimed at young people aged 13 – 18.


The core collection is widely available in all libraries including mobile libraries, whilst the Dementia and Shelf Help collections are available in larger libraries.  People can self-refer to the Scheme and all books are freely available to borrow from the shelves or can be requested from any library.


To support the Reading Well Books on Prescription Scheme, Nottinghamshire libraries offer Mood-boosting books; a national promotion of uplifting titles, including novels, poetry and non-fiction.


1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any one year but mental health services are overstretched and have long waiting times.[1] Launched in 2013 and developed by The Reading Agency, the Society of Chief Librarians and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians, Reading Well Books on Prescription aims to provide local communities with support to understand and manage their mental health and wellbeing.


Health professionals, such as GPs or school nurses, can refer people to the booklist, or the titles are available for anyone to borrow for free from their local library. In the 2015 evaluation of the programme, 85% of those who had borrowed a title from the adult mental health list said the book had made them feel more confident about managing their symptoms.


Reading Well for young people is the most recent list in the scheme and is available at libraries across Nottinghamshire. It includes 35 titles and provides 13 to 18 year-olds with support and advice on common mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety and stress, as well as difficult experiences like bullying and exams. 


This year libraries have seen a surge in loans of these books, with national figures provided by PLR of a 263% increase in loans since the list was launched in April 2016.


Councillor John Knight, Culture Committee Chairman at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “I am delighted that our libraries offer such valuable support to people in their communities who may experience mental health and wellbeing problems – providing a lifeline not just on World Mental Health Day, but all year round”.


SCL President Neil MacInnes said: “We are very proud of the work that public libraries do in helping people who suffer from anxiety, depression and isolation. Library staff play a crucial role in the health and wellbeing of local communities, and are a lifeline for customers who need information and support.”


Debbie Hicks, Creative Director at The Reading Agency, said: “World Mental Health Day is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the vital role of libraries as community health hubs providing health and wellbeing support for people of all ages. We are delighted that Reading Well for young people titles are flying off library shelves demonstrating the huge value and reach of libraries’ health work.”

[1] The Mental Health Foundation (2015) Fundamental Facts about Mental Health 2015

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