The Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme provides self-help reading for adults based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for a range of common mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, phobias and some eating disorders. Books are available from local libraries both on ‘prescription’ and open access.
The scheme is an early intervention treatment and part of ‘watchful waiting’ at step one in the Stepped Care Model for mental health and Talking Therapies provision. It can be used as a stand-alone treatment, as complementary to a pharmacological and/or a psychological approach and as a key element in a supported programme.
The scheme also signposts people to other well-being reading services in libraries including Mood-boosting Books, a national promotion of uplifting novels, poetry and non-fiction recommended by readers and social reading activity such as reading groups.
Books on Prescription was first developed in Cardiff by Professor Neil Frude, a clinical psychologist. There has been a national scheme in Wales since 2005. Reading Well Books on Prescription will be launched in June 2013, as the first national scheme for England.