Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Mental health patients get novel prescription

Healthy Reading Lanarkshire launch
Patients will be encouraged to use self-help books, CDs and DVDs

GPs across Lanarkshire are to refer patients with mental health problems to their local libraries as part of their treatment.

Patients will be "prescribed" self-help books, CDS and DVDs and librarians will be trained to offer advice and support.

The programme is a partnership between NHS Lanarkshire and North and South Lanarkshire Councils.

Research has shown that reading can help people cope with problems such as depression, stress, and bereavement.

All 50 community libraries across Lanarkshire have been given resources to offer to patients referred by their GPs.

As well as the books and leaflets, people using their local library can also get help to access web-based self-help programmes.

Increasing access

Colin Sloey, executive director for mental health services with NHS Lanarkshire, said: "With 1 in 4 people experiencing mental health problems in Lanarkshire we need to increase awareness and access to information, self-help and support.

"This programme has been developed because research shows us that increasing the availability of support, information and self-help is effective in improving mental health and well-being."

Councillor Mary Smith, chair of South Lanarkshire Council's education resources committee, said: "As part of our commitment to this programme, all library staff will be receiving mental health awareness training.

"This will support staff to give a warm and friendly welcome and help people to find and use the resources that they are looking for."

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