Reading Well Books on Prescription provides self-help reading for adults based on cognitive behavioural therapy for a range of common mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, phobias and some eating disorders.
Books can be recommended by GPs or other health professionals from the Reading Well Books on Prescription core booklist. They are available from the public library where they can be borrowed free of charge. The books have been recommended by experts. They have been tried and tested and found to be useful by others.
Reading Well Books on Prescription is the first national scheme for England. It builds on local best practice to create a quality-assured and consistent national model and is based on an original scheme developed in Cardiff by Professor Neil Frude.
Reading Well Books on Prescription also helps people discover other library well-being services including Reading Well Mood-boosting Books (see below) and reading groups.
Get involved with Reading Well Books on Prescription
Health professionals and librarians can find resources for running Reading Well Books on Prescription on our resources page.
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 on the list can provide feedback on their experience via this online survey.
We have been developing Reading Well Books on Prescription with the Society of Chief Librarians as a key new development driving their Public Library Health Offer. Reading Well Books on Prescription is supported by the Royal Colleges of General Practitioners, Nursing and Psychiatrists, the Department of Health through its Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme (IAPT), the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, the British Psychological Society and Mind.
Reading Well Books on Prescription facts
An article in Journal Plos One (January, 2013) recommends guided self-help books in the treatment of depression.
Research shows that reading improves mental wellbeing, and reduces stress levels by 67% (Mindlab International, 2009).
Reading also reduces the risk of dementia by 35% (New England Journal of Medicine).
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.
People will be invited to try a mood-boosting book as part of the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme but the books will not be prescribed by medical practitioners and the list is not endorsed by the Department of Health.
Get involved with Reading Well Mood-boosting Books
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.