Regularly featured on best-seller lists, Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive is among the latest collection of self-help books to be published in Welsh to help people manage common mental health conditions or deal with difficult feelings and experiences.
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, other new titles in the Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health scheme include A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax, A Manual for Heartache by Cathy Rentzenbrink and Stress Control by Jim White.
There are now a total of 20 Welsh-language titles in the Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health scheme and, for the first time, many are also available as e-books.
The Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme has been developed by The Reading Agency in partnership with public libraries across England and Wales, with the Books Council of Wales making a selection of books available in Welsh thanks to funding from the Welsh Government.
Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, Helgard Krause, said: “Looking after our mental health is vital and it’s more relevant now than ever before, with more and more people turning to books during these challenging times. What’s unique about the Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health scheme is that all the books have been selected and recommended by experts, and it’s essential that we ensure these valuable resources are also available in Welsh.”
Debbie Hicks MBE, Creative Director at The Reading Agency, said, “One in four of us will face a mental health issue at some point in our lives. With the timely publication of these new titles, we are delighted that more Welsh-speakers will be able to access the proven power of reading to understand and manage their mental health and wellbeing. We are proud to work with the Books Council of Wales and public libraries to deliver Reading Well Books on Prescription in Wales, enabling the scheme to reach even more people in Welsh and English.”
Among those who have benefited from the Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health scheme is children’s author Sharon Marie Jones who has lived with depression since 2014, with the illness intensifying following the death of her son Ned in a car accident in 2016.
“You have to remember that there isn’t one quick fix for any mental illness but reading is definitely part of my own therapy,” said Sharon. “You don’t need to be sitting down for hours reading a thick novel and there are books that you can just turn to every now and again. It’s just making that connection and feeling less alone by having that book in your hand.”
Titles in the Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health scheme are available to borrow from public libraries when they re-open or by following the guidelines for downloading e-books on public library websites.
Nia Gruffydd, Libraries Manager at Gwynedd County Council, said: “We have seen a big demand in libraries across Wales for the Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health titles and that’s reflected in the number of books which have been borrowed so far. What’s great about this scheme is that people can borrow these books free of charge and they are easily accessible through their library. It’s essential that these books are available in Welsh, enabling our users to read about issues which are so important and personal to them in their first language.”
Health or social care professionals can also recommend the books on prescription as part of an individual’s treatment, or they can be purchased through bookshops, gwales.com and other websites.
The Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme also includes a wide selection of self-help books for people with dementia and their carers, with a full list of titles on the Reading Well website.