Mental Health Foundation’s ‘Truth about Self Harm’ featured in national reading scheme supporting young people’s mental health

Reading well books on prescription

At a time when 1 in 10 young people have a diagnosable mental health issue, public libraries across England are today launching a scheme to support them with expert-endorsed books available to borrow for free. 

Reading Well for young people is part of the hugely successful Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme and 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. The new Reading Well scheme helps young people to understand and manage their wellbeing and emotional resilience. 

One of the titles featured in the scheme is the Mental Health Foundation’s The Truth about Self Harm. The booklet aims to help young people understand more about self-harm and what to do if they are worried about themselves or someone else. It explains what self-harm is, what to do if you or someone you know is self-harming, and how to get help. 

Officially launched today at the Wellcome Trust in London, Reading Well for young people’s recommended reading list of 35 books were 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 to popular non-fiction titles

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:

"Libraries can play a significant role in the health of local communities by providing free access to advice and information for people of all ages. This important new scheme uses libraries, books and reading to reach out to young people to help them manage their mental health and wellbeing, and cope with the pressures of modern life."

The books can be recommended by GPs, school nurses, counsellors and other health professionals and they’re also available for anyone to borrow for free from public libraries from April 2016. The scheme contributes to the central role that libraries play in supporting the health and wellbeing of local communities and provides a cost effective way to deliver community based mental health help, at around £1 per participant. 

Simon Chaplin, Director of Culture and Society at the Wellcome Trust, said:

"The Wellcome Trust is proud to be working with the Arts Council for England, the Society of Chief Librarians and The Reading Agency to support public libraries' universal health offer. Reading Well is one example of the power of public libraries to make us better, and to make our local communities better places."