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Gloucestershire Libraries marks World Mental Health Day


To mark World Mental Health Day (10th October), Gloucestershire Libraries will have special displays and events promoting the popular reading well books on prescription scheme.

Bishops Cleeve Library currently hosts a weekly group aimed at people experiencing memory loss and their carers. Due to its success, three more groups are now being set up.

Charlton Kings Library will host a group on Thursdays from 10.30am - 12pm, starting on the 13th October. Quedgeley Library's group will start on Monday 17th October at the same time. Tewkesbury Library will also host a group, starting on Tuesday 1stNovember from 10.30am - 12pm.

Launched in 2013 and developed by The Reading Agency, the Society of Chief Librarians and the Association of Senior Children's and Education Librarians, Reading Well Books on Prescription aims to provide local communities with support to understand and manage their mental health and wellbeing.

Health professionals, such as GPs or school nurses, can refer people to the booklist, although the titles are also available for anyone to borrow free from their local library. In the 2015 evaluation of the programme, 85 per cent of those who had borrowed a title from the adult mental health list said the book had made them feel more confident about managing their symptoms.

Shelf Help (reading well for young people) is the most recent list in the scheme and is available at all libraries across Gloucestershire. It includes 35 titles and provides 13 - 18 year olds with support and advice on common mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety and stress, as well as difficult experiences like bullying and stress. This year libraries have seen a surge in loans of these books, with national figures showing a 263 per cent increase in loans since the list was launched in April 2016.

Cllr Andrew Gravells, cabinet member for public health and libraries, said: "I am very proud of the work that our libraries do in helping people who experience anxiety, depression and isolation. Libraries play a crucial role in the health and wellbeing of local communities, and are a lifeline for customers who need information and support."

"World Mental Health Day is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the vital role of libraries as community health hubs providing support for people of all ages. I am delighted that Reading Well Books on Prescription titles are flying off library shelves showing the importance of libraries' health work."

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