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Cambridgeshire Libraries is launching the new Reading Well for mental health book collection today (Wednesday 10 October) to mark World Mental Health Day.

The collection of 37 titles provides information and support for people with common mental health needs and for dealing with difficult feelings and experiences.

Cambridgeshire Libraries have been sponsored by County Council’s Public Health to purchase the 2018 list, which includes books endorsed by health experts, as well as personal stories written by people living with mental health needs and their relatives and carers.

The Reading Well for mental health books will be available for anyone to borrow from any Cambridgeshire library. They can also be recommended by health professionals to support the treatment of their patients. Joining the library and borrowing books is free for everyone.

Helen*, from Huntingdon, has been living with depression, low self-esteem issues and long-term conditions for a number of years. However, she has started using the Reading Well collection at her local library and with the help of her GP and hospital staff she’s developed a self-management health programme to get informed and improve her mental wellbeing. Helen said: “If I had not had this resource in the library I would not have been able to deal with my long-term conditions so successfully.”

The Reading Well for mental health book collection is developed by the Reading Agency and Libraries Connected, with funding from Arts Council England and Wellcome. It is a refresh of the Reading Well for common mental health conditions scheme launched in 2013.  It is one of the four Reading Well schemes also available in Cambridgeshire libraries: Books on Prescription - Reading Well for dementia, Shelf Help - Reading Well for young people and Reading Well for long-term conditions.    

Kathy Hartley, Consultant in Public Health – Adult Mental Health lead for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough said: ''This is a wonderful resource of carefully selected books to support anyone in managing and improving their mental wellbeing. The range of topics ensures that there is a book to suit everyone struggling with mental health problems or dealing with challenging or painful feelings, life experiences or situations or for carers to support loved ones with these difficulties.''

Sue Wills, Cambridgeshire Libraries Service Manager said: “One of the crucial roles our libraries play is to give people access to information and resources in areas such as health and well-being to support and empower them. The new Reading Well for mental health is a fantastic addition to our family of Reading Well schemes.

“We are delighted to launch this collection on World Mental Health Day and during National Libraries Week, a celebration of the wonder of libraries and everything they can do for you. We urge everyone to visit their library to find out more and to experience a sense of wellbeing through reading or taking part in one of the fabulous activities we host every day.”

The full book list is available on the online catalogue. For more information about the Reading Well resources, please visit https://reading-well.org.uk/. If you are a health professional based in Cambridgeshire and would like to recommend this resource to your patients, please get in touch by emailing [email protected].

    *Disclaimer: Name has been changed to protect privacy.  

    More resources for mental health support:

    The County Council’s Public Health provides a number of helpful self-help resources online, in particular:

    • Be Well Cambridgeshire - the County Council website with a range of information to help people be healthier 
    • Keep Your Head - the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Adult Mental Health Website developed by local NHS, voluntary sector and local authority organisations. 

    The Reading Well for mental health collection displayed in St Ives Library. Books are available to borrow in all Cambridgeshire Libraries from Wednesday 10 October.

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