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'Read Well’ supports teenagers’ mental health

Published on:

10 May 2016

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Enfield's libraries are supporting a national scheme which helps young people affected by a range of mental health issues

‘Reading Well for young people’ is a new national book promotion from The Reading Agency aimed at supporting young people affected by mental health issues such as: anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm; and difficult life pressures, like bullying and exams.

Enfield Council’s libraries are participating in the promotion and the four flagship libraries: Enfield Town, Edmonton Green, Palmers Green and Ordnance Unity are displaying the books which have been recommended by young people and health professionals.

Cllr Ayfer Orhan, Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Children’s Services and Protection, explained: “Reading Well books offer high-quality information, support and advice on a wide-range of mental health issues.

“It is a way of encouraging young people to overcome their issues through reading the books and any young library member in the 13- 18 age group to borrow them.

“We are stocking titles which have been chosen by young people and health professionals and we have set up displays. Information is also available at smaller libraries.

“One in ten young people is diagnosed with a mental health issue which can be helped through reading. The selection includes: novels, self-help memoirs and shared experiences and young people may derive some comfort and genuine help from reading them.”

The proportion of 15-16 year olds reporting that they frequently feel anxious or depressed has doubled in the last 30 years and this scheme answers the need for assured mental health information and advice for young people.

Co-created with a panel of young people who have had experience of mental health issues, the new ‘Reading Well’ scheme helps young people to understand and manage their wellbeing and emotional resilience.

‘Reading Well for Young People’ recommends 35 books selected by mental health experts and young people.

The list features hugely influential novels such as: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

Popular non-fiction includes: Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson, Blame My Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan; The Self-Esteem Team's self-help guides Banish Your Body Image Thief and Breaking Free from OCD.

Natasha Devon MBE, founder of the Self-Esteem Team, said: "The Self-Esteem Team is asked by young people 'how do I know who I can trust?' That's why Reading Well provides such a crucial role in mental health and wellbeing; it is a much needed, trusted source and therefore a place where young people can feel that most important of all things - safe."

GPs, school nurses, counsellors and other health professionals can recommend the books which are available for anyone to borrow for free from public libraries.

Gaby, a young adviser from ‘YoungMinds’ who helped select the books on the list, said: "I believe ‘Reading Well’ will challenge stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding mental illness and educate young people about mental health in general.”

The Read Well scheme is delivered in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians and the Association of Senior Children's and Education Librarians.
• It is funded by Arts Council England and the Wellcome Trust. It is supported by a range of health organisations including NHS England (IAPT), Public Health England, Mental Health Foundation, Mind and YoungMinds.
• ‘Reading Well for young people’ is supported by: the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies: The British Psychological Society, Mental Health Foundation, Mind, National Association of Primary Care, NHS England (Children and Young People's Mental Health), Public Health England, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Psychiatrists and YoungMinds.
• For more information about Read Well click here
• You can contact Childline 24 hours a day by phoning 0800 111 or by clicking here  The Samaritans can be contacted 24 hours a day by phoning 116 123 24 or clicking here

Council support
Enfield Psychological Service is part of the Council’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service they can be emailed or called on 020 8379 2000.