Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Self-Help Books Prescribed by Doctors -- "Reading Well: Books on Prescription" program

The Committee Room turns it attention to self-help books with a look at a collaboration recently begun in England between libraries and the healthcare system. In January 2013, The Reading Agency, a non-profit supporting books, libraries, and literacy, announced the Reading Well: Books on Prescription program.

Beginning in May 2013, titles from a core-list of thirty self-help books on topics such as anxiety, chronic fatigue, depression, and binge eating will be made available in public libraries throughout England. General practitioners and other health professionals will be able to prescribe books from the list knowing that patients will have free access to the recommended titles.

A selection on the Reading Well:
Books on Prescription
core list
"There is strong evidence from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (UK) that self-help reading can help people with common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, sometimes on its own or with other forms of treatment. The books have been recommended by experts. They have been tried and tested and found to be useful by others," says The Reading Agency website.

The Reading Well: Books on Prescription program, which is co-sponsored by The Society of Chief Librarians and based on a similar program operating in Wales since 2005, has the endorsement the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the British Psychological Society, among other groups.

The Reading Well program also directs patients towards non-prescribed, well-being promoting resources available in local libraries such as reading groups and most especially the titles on The Reading Agency's list of "mood-boosting" books. According to The Reading Agency's website, the uplifting selections on the "mood-boosting" list are recommended by readers and reading groups from across England and include novels, non-fiction, poetry and graphic novels.

To view the "Reading Well: Books on Prescription" core list of self-help books click here

To view The Reading Agency's 2012 list of "Mood-Boosting" fiction, poetry, and non-fiction click here

Here's more information --

"GPs to 'prescribe' self-help books to treat depression."  BBC News. 2 February 2013.

"SCL announces 'universal offers' for libraries." The Bookseller.  31 January 2013.

"Just what the doctor ordered: Books will be prescribed as medicine in the UK." Christian Science Monitor. 1 February 2013.

"GPs to prescribe self-help books for mental health problems." The Guardian. 31 January 2013.

"Medicinal power of literature: Books on prescription to be introduced." The Independent. 31 January 2013.

The Committee Room.  Interesting Articles for Interested Readers.