Self-help scheme sees local success

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Local libraries have been part of a successful first year for the national Reading Well: Books on Prescription scheme.

In Lincolnshire, almost 2,000 of the scheme’s self-help titles have been issued between June 2013 and September 2014, with figures showing that loans of these titles has gone up almost 9 percent.

Books tackling anxiety and low self-esteem are among the most popular choices for adults, while exam stress and celebrating individuality feature strongly in children and young people’s selections.

The news comes as the national Books on Prescription scheme in England revealed it has reached around 275,000 people in its first year.

GPs and health professionals can prescribe books, but they are also available for anyone to borrow from their local library. Whilst there are around 7,000 prescribers nationally using the scheme, 80 percent of people who borrowed a book had self-referred by picking up a leaflet, often in their library.

Coun Nick Worth, executive member for libraries, said: “We’ve been offering books on prescription in Lincolnshire for around eight years now, with titles for both adults and young people.

“And by joining the national scheme in June 2013, we complemented our existing service with a nationally-approved set of quality-assured self-help books.

“It’s good to hear that the national scheme has been so effective in its first year. There’s a wealth of research indicating that reading self-help books can dramatically improve conditions such as depression.

“And by offering these titles for free in our libraries, we really are bringing effective support closer to those who need it.”

Tony McGinty, assistant director of Public Health said: “Keeping mental balance in a world that is more and more demanding on Us all is getting harder.

“Immersing ourselves in books is proven to not only help us keep balance, keep looking outward and learning throughout life but also helps us find solutions to our stresses and strains.

“These schemes work, and that is why so many people in Lincolnshire are using them.”

Following the success of Reading Well: Books on Prescription for common mental health conditions, a new dementia scheme will be launched in libraries in January 2015.