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Book Prescription Wales

The following information has been taken from the leaflet, "Book Prescription Wales", available on this NHS Direct Wales web page:

Book Prescription Wales is a scheme that aims to help people with mild to moderate emotional problems to make use of high quality self-help books that have been specially selected by psychologists and counsellors working in Wales. This highly successful scheme involves a GP or other health professional prescribing a therapy book which is available to borrow from any branch library across Wales. The scheme includes books on many of the common psychological problems that people experience, including depression, stress, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive problems, panic, anger and low self esteem. There are also books for those people who are having severe memory problems and their families.

Many people feel stressed, anxious or depressed and need help in controlling their feelings and their actions. The emotional problems they are experiencing may be putting at risk their jobs and relationships. However we now know that work and flexible supportive employment is actually beneficial to health and speeds up the recovery process.

Wellbeing through Work is a new service in Wales that supports the book prescription service and will help you access self-management options to maintain employment. It has been shown many times that the best self-help books really can help people to deal with emotional issues. This scheme has identified some of the very best books and
makes them easily available to people who may benefit from the information, guidance and tips that they contain.

Many of the books present self-help versions of the kind of therapy that would be given by a professional. In many cases they present
complete step-by-step treatment programmes with exercises, self-assessments, diary sheets etc to be completed by the reader. If you are given a book prescription it will indicate the length of time for which the book may be borrowed from the library. If you wish to extend this time, you may find that the loan can be renewed (check with the library on this). In addition, some people find a book so useful that they wish to have their own copy. All of the recommended books should be available for purchase through a good book store or through an internet bookseller. If you do buy your own copy, please return the library copy as soon as possible.

The Book Prescription Wales books have been recommended by people who have used them previously and found them helpful. Like other ‘self-help’ methods, it will need some effort on your part. You might wish to set aside some special regular time to read the book and to follow any advice or instructions it contains. Please treat the book as you would any other library book and do not mark or write on it. If the book includes ‘exercises’ or questionnaires, please make your own copy of the material and use this for your work.

If you require additional support and are employed and live or work in Wales, then you will have access to a confidential helpline, delivered by a professional team of experienced advisors. The Wellbeing through Work support service will be available from January 2011.

For more information visit:
www.remploy.co.uk or www.nliah.wales.nhs.uk or call: 0300 456 8068

Some questions you may have:

Do I have to be a member of the library to use this service?
No, you don’t have to be an existing member of the library. If you are not a member then you may be asked to sign a membership form when you take your book prescription into the library. You may or may not wish to use this to borrow additional, non-prescribed, books.

What if the book is unavailable?
Each of the branch libraries has at least one copy of the books on the Book Prescription Wales scheme. If all copies are on loan to other readers, then the branch will obtain a copy from another branch.

Can books really help?
Yes, there is very good evidence that books can help people who have emotional problems. The books on the prescription list have been specially chosen for their high quality. Of course, not everyone
will be helped in this way. Effectiveness does depend on how much effort the reader puts into following the guidance given by the book.

Is the service confidential?
If you are given a Book Prescription Wales prescription, you can take it to the library or get someone else to take it for you. The library staff are professionals and will treat you with respect. This means that they will not divulge any information about who is borrowing a
book or what the book is about. Think of the library staff as you would think of your local pharmacist - as someone who can deliver what is prescribed with professional expertise and ethical practice.

What if the book doesn’t help?
We know that the books on the list often do prove useful, but they are not going to be effective for everyone. If you have really tried hard to use the book, but find that your difficulty or distress persists, then you will need to return to your GP (or to make further contact with the professional who prescribed the book) so that further advice can be obtained.

Readers’ Comments

Here are some comments made by people who have used particular books included within the Book Prescription Wales:

“I found it very helpful. I can’t recommend it enough!”

“An excellent self-help guide … I have been diagnosed with depression and this book was recommended by my GP.”

“After working through the exercises in this book I feel more in control of my moods, and I can cope better when I am feeling strong emotions.”

“This book was invaluable in my recovery.”

“This book has really helped me to learn how to change those thoughts and become a more positive person.”

There are now available self-help interactive websites which can also be accessed free of charge at your local library. Some you may wish to try are:


Click Here For A List Of Mental Health Books

To read more about mental health terms and definitions, click on this jargon buster.

This page updated on 13th March, 2012.

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