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Gloucestershire Libraries supporting young people's mental health

Published
26.04.2016

At a time when 1 in 10 young people have a diagnosable mental health issue, Gloucestershire Libraries is today launching a scheme to support them with expert endorsed books available to borrow for free

Shelf Help is a national initiative, part of the hugely successful Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme, which will provide 13-18 year-olds with high-quality information, support and advice on a wide-range of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm and difficult life pressures, like bullying and exams.

With the proportion of 15-16 year olds reporting that they frequently feel anxious or depressed having doubled in the last 30 years, there is an enormous need for quality assured 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 Shelf Help 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.  

To celebrate the launch of the scheme, there have been several launch events held in the different libraries to promote the availability of these most recent collections of Reading Well Books on Prescription.

Shelf Help'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, from hugely influential novels The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and popular non-fiction such as Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson,Blame My Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan and The Self-Esteem Team's Guide to Sex, Drugs and WTFs?!! to the self-help guides Banish Your Body Image Thiefand Breaking Free from OCD.

The books are available at all Gloucestershire Libraries for young people to borrow. Gloucestershire Libraries are also recruiting young people to take part in the Reading Hack, and as part of this, need young volunteers to sign up to help at the Summer Reading Challenge this summer.

Jane Everiss, head of libraries, said: "We are very excited about this new initiative to help young people access books about mental health and other issues. We hope they will borrow these recommended titles from our libraries and this will give them more understanding and confidence."

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