New scheme utilises the stress-busting power of reading to help treat a range of anxiety and mild depression issues
By Sophie Tighe
It costs the NHS £14 billion to treat the six million Britons suffering with anxiety, mild depression and other mild to moderate mental health issues.
With many having little to no access to psychotherapy and an over-reliance by some on anti-depressants, a new treatment is proving popular with patients.
Books on Prescription is a scheme from The Reading Agency and Society of Chief Librarians that offers free self-help books to those suffering from a range of issues including anxiety, mild depression, bulimia and stress.
Patients can be recommended a book from the core booklist by their GP or other health professionals and borrow it for free from the library.
In Wales, they’ve gone one further, with Book Prescription Wales provided directly by the NHS that sees GPs actually prescribe therapy books for patients coping with a range of anxiety and depression issues.
There are 30 books on the list that have been endorsed as ‘having evidenced cognitive behavioural therapy benefits’, including titles such as ‘Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway’ and ‘Getting Better Bit(e) by Bit(e)’.
Within the first nine months of the scheme launching in Wales, 15,326 books were borrowed, the majority of which were about depression.
As well as self-help, therapy titles, Books on Prescriptions also complied a list of mood-boosting fiction books that it also recommends as being ‘uplifting’.
Patients are encouraged to delve into classics like ‘The Secret Garden’ and ‘I Capture The Castle’ or more recent hits like ‘The Help’.
According to 2009 research, reading is by far one of the most successful stress busters around.
It’s 68 per cent better than music at reducing stress levels, 100 per cent better than a cup of tea and 300 per cent better than going for a walk.
Just six minutes of reading is enough to bring our stress levels down by 60 per cent, slowing down our heart beat, easing muscle tension and altering our state of mind.
With that in mind, here are 35 of Yahoo Lifestyle’s must read books to help us all relax…