Readersforum's Blog

February 9, 2013

The medicinal power of literature: Books on prescription to be introduced

v2-medicinal-literature1‘Mood boosting’ poetry and novels to be recommended by GPs

By Nick Clark

People consulting their local GP over mental health issues may find they are written a surprising prescription, one redeemed at the local library rather than a pharmacy.

The “big guns” of the library and medical worlds have joined for an initiative to help treat those with mild to moderate mental health problems.

Patients could be recommended anything from one of 30 medical volumes dealing with specific conditions to “mood boosting books” – novels and poetry – from writers including Jo Brand, Bill Bryson and Terry Jones.

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January 11, 2012

Glad tidings of mood-boosting reading

Bill Bryson … has clearly been reading his own books. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

I’m much cheered by a Reading Agency promotion of 27 books to give your spirits a lift

By Alison Flood

As the yearly dump of diet and health titles hit bookshops, here’s another reason to love libraries: branches across the country are promoting “mood-boosting” books through January, with titles ranging from Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie to Tove Jansson’s wonderful A Winter Book. The promotion, says organiser The Reading Agency, follows research that shows reading improves mental wellbeing and reduces stress by over two-thirds.

Running in 135 library authorities, the 27 titles for the Reading Agency promotion were picked by eight reading groups around the country and endorsed by Charley Baker, lecturer in mental health at the University of Nottingham. Although it’s aimed specifically at adults who “might have experienced mild to moderate mental-health conditions linked to stress, anxiety and depression”, I say it’s a lovely idea, and that we could probably all do with a mood-boost in January.

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