Date Published: 15 June 2016
Rutland Library Service is helping to support young people’s mental health by launching a scheme that offers free expert guidance and support to those who need it.
Reading Well for young people is a national scheme that will provide 13-18 year-olds with high-quality information, support and advice on a wide-range of mental health issues like anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm, as well as difficult life pressures such as bullying and exams.
The proportion of 15-16 year olds reporting frequent feelings of anxiety or depression has doubled in the last 30 years, highlighting the need for reliable mental health information and advice for young people.
Co-created with a panel of young people who have had experience of mental health issues, the new Reading Well scheme helps young people to understand and manage their wellbeing and emotional resilience. The books can be recommended by GPs, school nurses, counsellors and other health professionals, as well as being free to borrow from the library.
Reading Well for Young People’s recommended reading list of 35 books was selected by mental health experts and young people. The list includes a wide range of self-help and information titles, as well as memoir, graphic novels and fiction.
“We have worked hard to preserve Rutland’s network of libraries for the benefit of local residents and this is a great example of how libraries can play a major role in the health of our communities – providing free access to advice, information and services for people of all ages. The Reading Well scheme uses libraries, books and reading to reach out to young people who need help, supporting them to manage their mental health and wellbeing and cope with the pressures of modern life."
Councillor Oliver Hemsley, Portfolio Holder for Culture
All four of Rutland’s libraries already stock Reading Well Books on Prescription for both Mental Health and Dementia in, as well as mood boosting books for adults. These services form part of an extensive collection of Health and Wellbeing resources designed to support residents and carers, including titles on ADHD, Aspergers & Autism, giving up smoking, pregnancy, toddler behavior, and more.
“In a time when information on mental health is instantly accessible, abundant and mostly unverified one of the commonest questions the Self-Esteem Team are asked by young people is ‘how do I know who I can trust?’ That’s why Reading Well provides such a crucial role in mental health and well-being; it is a much needed, trusted source and therefore a place where young people can feel that most important of all things – safe.”
Natasha Devon MBE, founder of the Self-Esteem Team
"I believe Reading Well will challenge stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding mental illness, educating young people about mental health in general. The easy accessibility of the books that are part of the scheme is key, enabling young people to explore the topic of mental health discretely and at a speed they are comfortable with."
Gaby, Young Advisor for YoungMinds
The Reading Well scheme is delivered by The Reading Agency in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians. It is funded by Arts Council England and the Wellcome Trust and supported by a range of health organisations, including NHS England, Public Health England, Mental Health Foundation, Mind and YoungMinds.
For more information about what’s on offer at your local library, please visit our Library Services page.