Reading Well to improve your mental wellbeing

A series of free books to help people to improve their mental wellbeing are now available in libraries across Cumbria.

The books, published under a series called Reading Well, are aimed at adults experiencing common mental health problems have been endorsed by health professionals in partnership with Cumbria County Council Library Services.

Richard Thwaites, Clinical Director in the First Step service at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “These books can be an effective part of early intervention and treatment, provide helpful information and step by step self-help techniques for managing common conditions, including depression, anxiety, panic, sleep problems, chronic pain and others. There is evidence from the National Institute for Health and Care (NICE) that self-help books like these can help people understand and manage their condition so these books increase the range of options available and, for many patients, may be preferable to medication. Some people may use the library book collections independently as the first step in seeking help.”

GPs, or other health professionals can recommend a Reading Well book. Patients can go to their local library across Cumbria and borrow the book for free, or people may “self prescribe” on seeing the titles in the library and finding them to be of relevance to their own situation. Anyone who is not a member of the library can join for free, and if the Reading Well title they want is out on loan it can be reserved, free of charge.

Councillor Ian Stewart, Cumbria County Council Library Service, said: “The books have all been recommended by experts. They are tried and tested and have been found to be useful for people with common mental health problems.  Reading Well is the new name for our Well Read collections, and almost 2000 Well Read books were borrowed from the county’s libraries last year. I am very pleased that the county’s libraries are proving such a valuable resource for so many Cumbrians.”

Patient feedback has been positive and included: “The timing was just right. I had just reached a difficult point and reading this book was perfect timing. A light bulb moment! Thank you very much.”

“I can only tell you as part of all the other approaches that books and the library itself were a huge help in my taking control of my own well being/mental health.”

“I didn’t know about it before – now find very helpful. Library staff very helpful finding the books recommended by health worker.”

“Helped me to see simple steps can help. Just changing the way I think about pain I can manage better. Thank you.”

“This is a great idea – almost like having access to a doctor without making an appointment. With the lengthy delays in psychological treatment services at NHS I have been able, through this scheme, to research my own condition and apply practical methods to ease difficulty until I move up the waiting list. Thank you”.

For more information contact your local library or health care professional.