Reading your way to a better future

Reading is being used to help people with common health conditions such as depression and anxiety
Reading is being used to help people with common health conditions such as depression and anxiety

A newly refreshed service which will use reading to help people with common health conditions such as depression and anxiety is to be launched in St Helens.

The scheme, called 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 official launch of the service will take place at Central Library next Tuesday, June 24, and will include a number of key speakers, including inspirational former soldier Andy Reid.

Andy, who survived an IED blast in Afghanistan that left him a triple amputee, will be speaking about his time at war and how he has adjusted to life back home.

Saints are also supporting the service.

Joint-captain Jon Wilkin said: “Everyone can have mental health related issues at some point in their life and it’s important to be open and honest and seek help or advice.

“Speaking to friends or family, visiting your GP or nurse or contacting a mental health charity or organisation can all help.

“Saints are proud to support the re-launch of such an important scheme and can see the wide reaching benefits to all residents of St Helens including young adults, older adults, men, women and all members of the rugby community/family.”

Local mental health support services will be there offering information and advice, and individuals will be able to find out more about the scheme on the day.

The launch event is open to all and takes place between 10am and 2pm, with the official launch starting at 12.30pm.

Places for the official launch are free, but need to be booked in advance by contacting Kathryn Boothroyd on 01744 677486 or emailing kathrynboothroyd@sthelens.gov.uk by Monday, June 23.

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.

It offers people cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) self-help books from their local library, which can be 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.

All libraries in St Helens will have the core list of 30 titles, covering issues such as anxiety, depression, phobias, panic attacks, bulimia and sleep problems.

These will be available to borrow free of charge from local library branches or can be reserved using the online library catalogue.

For more information 
on the scheme, visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/booksonprescription