Printed Date: 23/04/2018

Lincolnshire Libraries welcome scheme to support young people’s mental health

At a time when 1 in 10 young people have a diagnosable mental health issue,[1] Lincolnshire Libraries are throwing their support behind a scheme to help them with expert endorsed books available to borrow for free.

Reading Well for young people is a national scheme, part of the hugely successful Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme, which will provide 13-18 year-olds with high-quality information, support and advice on a wide-range of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm, and difficult life pressures, like relationships, cyber-bullying and exams.

With the proportion of 15-16 year olds reporting that they frequently feel anxious or depressed having doubled in the last 30 years,[2] there is an enormous need for quality 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. The books can be recommended by GPs, school nurses, counsellors and other health professionals as well as being free to borrow from the library.  

To celebrate the launch of the scheme, Lincolnshire libraries will be holding locally organised events and displaying their new book collections.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “Libraries can play a significant role in the health of local communities by providing free access to advice and information for people of all ages. This important new scheme uses libraries, books and reading to reach out to young people to help them manage their mental health and wellbeing, and cope with the pressures of modern life." 

Reading Well for young people’s recommended reading list of 35 books were selected by mental health experts and young people. The list includes a wide range of self-help and information titles, as well as memoir, graphic novels and fiction, from hugely influential novels The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and popular non-fiction such as Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson, Blame My Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan and The Self-Esteem Team’s Guide to Sex, Drugs and WTFs?!! to the self-help guides Banish Your Body Image Thief and Breaking Free from OCD.

As well as supporting Reading Well Books on Prescription for young people, Lincolnshire Libraries also run Reading Well Books on Prescription for Dementia and also a local bespoke Books on Prescription for Children and Young People (aged 4 to 19 years). Leaflets and book collections are held in Lincolnshire Libraries and leaflets are also available GP surgeries across Lincolnshire.

Diana Edmonds, Head of Libraries at GLL – the social enterprise that runs Lincolnshire’s 15 libraries on behalf of Lincolnshire County Council said:

“We want to increase the number of people using Lincolnshire Libraries and initiatives like Reading Well are a great opportunity to do this.

“As well as the pressures teenagers face growing up in today’s digital age, some young people in Lincolnshire can also face the additional issue of rural isolation in the country’s fourth largest county.

“But our libraries are a safe, welcoming space where young people  can talk to staff in confidence about issues that may be troubling them while the book stock provides relevant self-help titles to promote understanding.”  

Natasha Devon MBE, founder of the Self-Esteem Team, says: “In a time when information on mental health is instantly accessible, abundant and mostly unverified one of the commonest questions the Self-Esteem Team are asked by young people is ‘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.”

Gaby, a Young Advisor from YoungMinds who helped select the books on the list, says: "I believe Reading Well will challenge stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding mental illness, educating young people about mental health in general. The easy accessibility of the books that are part of the scheme is key, enabling young people to explore the topic of mental health discretely and at a speed they are comfortable with."

The scheme is delivered by The Reading Agency 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.  

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council says: “At the Arts Council, we’ve long-believed in the transformative powers of arts and culture for people’s health - and libraries play a large part in this. The new Reading Well for Young People programme has the potential to make a real difference to the lives of young people and so I’m delighted that we have been able to invest in it.”

Simon Chaplin, Director of Culture and Society at the Wellcome Trust, said: “The Wellcome Trust is proud to be working with the Arts Council for England, the Society of Chief Librarians and The Reading Agency to support public libraries' universal health offer. Reading Well is one example of the power of public libraries to make us better, and to make our local communities better places.”

The core booklist for Reading Well for young people

  • Stuff That Sucks: Accepting What You Can’t Change and Committing to What You Can by Ben Sedley (Robinson, Little Brown)
  • Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson (Hot Key Books)
  • The Self-Esteem Team’s Guide to Sex, Drugs and WTFs?!! by The Self-Esteem Team (John Blake Publishing)
  • Blame My Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan (Walker Books)
  • Quiet the Mind by Matthew Johnstone (Robinson, Little, Brown)
  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Walker Books)
  • Kite Spirit by Sita Brahmachari (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • House of Windows by Alexia Casale (Faber)
  • Every Day by David Levithan (Electric Monkey, Egmont)
  • Putting on the Brakes: Understanding and Taking Control of Your ADD or ADHD by Patricia Quinn and Judith Stern (Magination Press, American Psychological Association)
  • My Anxious Mind: A Teen’s Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic by Michael Tompkins and Katherine Martinez (Magination Press, American Psychological Association)
  • The Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens: CBT Skills to Overcome Fear, Worry and Panic by Jennifer Shannon (New Harbinger Publications, Little, Brown)
  • The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook for Teens by Jennifer Shannon (New Harbinger Publications, Little Brown)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida (Sceptre, Hodder)
  • Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome: A User’s Guide to Adolescence by Luke Jackson (Jessica Kingsley)
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Vintage)
  • Teen Life Confidential: Bullies, Cyberbullies and Frenemies by Michele Elliott (Wayland, Hachette Children’s)
  • Vicious: True Stories by Teens about Bullying ed. Hope Vanderberg (Free Spirit Publishing)
  • Banish Your Self-Esteem Thief: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Building Positive Self-Esteem for Young People by Kate Collins-Donnelly (Jessica Kingsley)
  • Teen Life Confidential: Self-Esteem and Being You by Anita Naik (Wayland, Hachette Children’s)
  • Face by Benjamin Zephaniah (Bloomsbury)
  • Am I Depressed and What Can I Do About it? by Shirley Reynolds and Monika Parkinson (Robinson, Little, Brown)
  • I Had a Black Dog by Matthew Johnstone (Robinson, Little, Brown)
  • Can I Tell You About Depression? by Christopher Dowrick and Susan Martin (Jessica Kingsley)
  • Can I Tell You About Eating Disorders?  by Bryan Lask and Lucy Watson (Jessica Kingsley)
  • Banish Your Body Image Thief by Kate Collins-Donnelly (Jessica Kingsley)
  • Tyranny by Lesley Fairfield (Walker Books)
  • Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens by Sheri van Dijk (New Harbinger Publications, Little, Brown)
  • Touch and Go Joe by Joe Wells (Jessica Kingsley)
  • Breaking Free from OCD: A CBT Guide for Young People and their Families by Jo Derisley, Isobel Heyman, Sarah Robinson, Cynthia Turner (Jessica Kingsley)
  • The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten (Walker Books)
  • The Truth About Self-Harm by Celia Richardson (Mental Health Foundation)
  • Fighting Invisible Tigers: A Stress Management Guide for Teens by Earl Hipp (Free Spirit Publishing)
  • Teenage Guide to Stress by Nicola Morgan (Walker Books)



[1] The Office for National Statistics, Mental health in children and young people in Great Britain, 2005

[2] Changing Adolescence: Social Trends and Mental Health edited by Ann Hagell, Policy Press, 2012