Quality assured reading list to support young people's mental health and wellbeing endorsed by leading professional bodies.
A new Reading Well for teens collection will launch in public libraries across England and Wales on World Mental Health Day 2022 (10th October). The scheme - run by national charity The Reading Agency - will support the mental health and wellbeing of teenagers, providing information, advice and support to help them better understand their feelings, handle difficult experiences and boost their confidence in a post-pandemic context.
Reading Well will add value to existing services by supporting early intervention support through books aimed at helping teens to understand and manage their health and wellbeing at a time of huge post-pandemic need .
At the beginning of 2022, more than 400,000 children and young people were being treated or waiting to be treated for mental health problems in England - the highest number on record.1 Reading Well can help: it can either be used independently or recommended by a professional. 89% of health professionals surveyed said the books helped support people outside of consultation time.2 91% of previous Reading Well users found their book helpful or very helpful, with 83% saying their book helped them to understand more about their health needs, and 71% that their book supported them in coping better with health needs.3
This year's collection of books has been chosen and endorsed by leading health professionals and co-produced with teenagers (aged 13-19) in a collaboration with Partnership for Young London. This process means that Reading Well lists are not just expert-endorsed but also speak authentically to the needs and interests of users: 100% of young people surveyed said they would recommend their Reading Well book to a friend.4
The list features 27 books and a range of supporting digital resources covering topics including wellbeing, anxiety, depression, body image, neurodiversity, bereavement, life experiences, sexuality and gender identity. As well as being available to borrow through public libraries, the books can also be recommended by GPs, school nurses, counsellors, link workers and other health & care professionals. Books will be available from public libraries as physical and digital copies.
Professor Neil Frude, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and founder of the original books on prescription model in Wales, said:
"The mental health of young people is crucial, particularly given the challenges that young people across the country are tackling at the moment, and reading can contribute significantly to the maintenance and enhancement of their wellbeing. The new Reading Well booklist for teens includes books that are clinically assured in the information they give and offer vital support on a range of mental health issues. The scheme will provide highly effective guidance for many young people who need such help."
Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said:
"At The Reading Agency, we know that there is an inextricable link between reading for pleasure and empowerment and people's mental health and wellbeing. This list of quality-assured titles will support existing services and provide young people across the country with reading material which helps them to feel better. We are delighted that they'll be available in public libraries, which are non-stigmatising spaces for young people to feel welcome and explore these great reads."