Doctors and library staff in East Dunbartonshire are working together to offer patients with poor mental health a brand new healthy reading service that may help them in their recovery.
Through the ‘Healthy Reading'/‘Book Prescription' initiative, Easy Dunbartonshire Council's libraries will stock a collection of books, recommended by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, which local people can borrow on the advice of their GP.
Councillor Eric Gotts, Convener of the Education & Cultural Services Committee helped launched the initiative at William Patrick Library in Kirkintilloch on Wednesday, January 17.
He said, "The scheme is about the Council and the NHS working together to offer people suffering from common mental health issues, the chance to borrow approved books that will give them an insight into the health problems they are facing.
"If a GP recommends that a patient borrows a book under this scheme, the patient will find our libraries to be friendly and accessible places where they will feel welcome and comfortable."
The books cover topics such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, mood swings and low self esteem. Other books discuss overcoming a gambling addiction, surviving sexual abuse and coping with bereavement.
Heather Glennie, Operations Manager for Mental Health Services within East Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership, explained that the scheme will form part of a specific series of first line interventions utilised by GPs within this CHP.
Heather said, "Such books within this scheme have been shown to be highly effective in assisting people experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and bereavement reactions.
"GPs are key in first line intervention when patients begin experiencing mental health issues.
"If a GP feels a patient is experiencing mental health issues there are a range of options they can consider.
"Within this scheme the GP will have details of books available within the scheme which he/she could recommend.
"The patient will then be offered a paper prescription which they can take to their nearest library.
"Many books we recommend contain self help exercises /suggestions and patients will be encouraged to copy the exercises suggested within the book and use them at their leisure.
"Patients do not have to be a member of a library to use this scheme."
The new service is confidential and the recommended reading list has been validated by experts.
Patients hand over their "prescription" to the librarian who will then get the suggested book from the library shelves, which are also open to the entire library membership.
Heather went on, "People using this service should not feel any different from going along as usual to their local library and borrowing a book."
Similar schemes in operation have indicated very positive feedback from people who have accessed them, and comments have included, "after reading the book I felt a new sense of well being", and "this book helped me learn how to change thoughts and become more of a positive person. It was valuable to my recovery"
For more information contact: Claire Robertson, Public Affairs, 0141 578 8032, and Susan Carden, Communications Officer, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 0141 201 4429