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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
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Books on Prescription from the Library of Birmingham

Published: 08/10/2014

An initiative to enable people to get self-help books on mental health topics from the Library of Birmingham is being launched this week on World Mental Health Day, 10 October.

The scheme – Books on Prescription – is a joint venture between Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and the Library of Birmingham.

The aim is to improve people’s access to self-help resources for common psychological problems including depression, eating disorders, compulsive gambling, anger, low self-esteem and stress.

Books on Prescription is part of the Trust’s “talking therapies” service, Birmingham Healthy Minds, which helps  people deal with everyday mental health problems before they become more serious.

Kully Ingram, Partnership Manager for Birmingham Healthy Minds, explained: “We have collaborated with the Library of Birmingham to develop a range of books available for loan free of charge through the library. 

“Books on the list use a cognitive-behavioural approach with easy-to-understand techniques to help readers overcome or manage a variety of psychological disorders.  The books also include advice on avoiding setbacks and relapse.” 

Anyone who is a member of the library can borrow books on their card in the same way as any other book.  But anyone who isn’t a library member can still borrow books by getting their GP to ‘prescribe’ them. The ‘prescription’ will specify the length of time the book should be used.

Staff from Birmingham Healthy Minds will be at the Library of Birmingham on Friday, 10 October between 10am-4pm to tell visitors about local services and support available to help them improve their mental health and wellbeing including the Books on Prescription scheme. People will have the chance to talk to a mental health practitioner, complete a mood and wellbeing check and undertake confidential screening to discuss how Birmingham Healthy Minds can help.

Brian Gambles, Director of the Library of Birmingham said: ”We’re delighted to be working with Birmingham Healthy Minds to deliver Books on Prescription. This service will be a valuable addition to the range of support and resources we have available at the Library of Birmingham to help people to look after their health and well-being.  Community libraries across the city also offer resources that can help with this too, meaning libraries are well placed to complement the support available through the NHS.”