A new scheme to support young people’s mental health has been launched by the borough council.
Teenagers across Cheshire West and Chester will be able to borrow expert books for free from the library service.
Reading Well for Young People is a national scheme, part of the hugely successful Reading Well Books on Prescription initiative.
It aims to provide 13-18 year-olds with high-quality information, support and advice on a wide range of mental health issues.
These include anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm and difficult life pressures like bullying and exams.
The proportion of 15-16 year olds reporting they frequently feel anxious or depressed is said to have doubled in the last 30 years and there is known to be ‘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 scheme helps them 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.
Little Neston and Burton ward councillor Louise Gittins (Lab), the borough’s cabinet member for leisure, culture and wellbeing, said: “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.
“Libraries can play a key role in the health of our communities by providing free access to advice and information for everyone.”
Reading Well for Young People’s recommended reading list of 35 books was selected by mental health experts and young people themselves.
The list includes a wide range of self-help and information titles, as well as memoirs, graphic novels, fiction and non fiction.
A young advisor from YoungMinds who helped select the books on the list, said: “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 supported by a range of health organisations including NHS England, Public Health England, the Mental Health Foundation, Mind and YoungMinds.