Reading Well Books on Prescription helps you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using self-help reading. It is endorsed by health professionals and supported by public libraries. We have developed the scheme in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians, with funding from Arts Council England. It builds on local best practice to create a quality-assured national scheme for England, based on the model developed in Wales by Professor Neil Frude.
Books can be recommended by GPs or other health professionals from the relevant Reading Well Books on Prescription reading list. People can also self-refer to the scheme and use it without a professional recommendation. All the books are available in almost all English public libraries where they can be borrowed free of charge. The books have been recommended by experts, and been tried and tested and found to be useful.
Book list for common mental health conditions
Reading Well Books on Prescription was launched in 2013 with a list for common mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, phobias and some eating disorders. In its first year, the scheme has reached 275,000 people with book-based cognitive behavioural therapy. There has also been a 113% increase in loans of the titles on the list.
In January 2015, we launched Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia, which provides help and support for people with dementia, carers of people with dementia and anyone who would like to find out more about the condition or is worried about symptoms.
The booklist is divided into four categories: information and advice; living well with dementia; support for relatives and carers; and personal stories.
There is evidence from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) that self-help reading can help people with common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
Recent research shows that people see their library as a safe, trusted and non-stigmatised place to go for help with, and information about, health problems.
People using books recommended by Reading Well Books on Prescription can provide feedback on their experience via this online survey.
Reading Well Books on Prescription is delivered in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians as part of the Universal Health Offer for Libraries. The scheme is supported by health partners including the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, The British Psychological Society, Mind, the National Association of Primary Care, NHS England through its Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme (IAPT) and the Royal Colleges of General Practitioners, Nursing and Psychiatrists.
We worked with new partners to develop Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia including the Alzheimer's Society, Carers UK, Dementia UK and Innovations in Dementia.
Reading Well Mood-boosting Books
Our Reading Well Mood-boosting Books scheme is a national promotion of uplifting novels, non-fiction and poetry selected by readers.
We suggest that people using the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme may also like to try some mood-boosting fiction or poetry, but the books are not prescribed, endorsed or recommended by health professionals. Mood-boosting Books provides crowd-sourced lists recommended by readers.
Get involved with Reading Well Mood-boosting Books
In 2013, we worked with Macmillan Cancer Support to involve people with experience of cancer in creating a list of mood-boosting titles. The list was promoted in Macmillan Information Points and libraries around the country.
We're now creating a new list with Macmillan Cancer Support and are inviting recommendations of uplifting titles from people who have been affected by cancer. The books can be in any genre - they might be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels or cookery books. They don't have to be specifically about cancer, but should be books that you - or someone close to you - found uplifting during or after treatment.
Readers and reading groups around the country recommended 20 new Mood-boosting Books for 2013 including Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend.
One in six adults struggles to read. The Six Book Challenge builds people’s reading confidence and literacy skills, improving their life chances. While Reading Groups for Everyone celebrates all the good things that happen when people come together to share reading and Reading Well supports people's health and wellbeing. Because everything changes when we read.