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Libraries launch scheme to support teens’ mental health

Oxfordshire County Council’s libraries are backing a scheme to support teenagers’ mental health through the power of reading. The Reading Well range of expert-endorsed books is aimed at helping youngsters cope with problems including anxiety, depression an


The Reading Well range of expert-endorsed books is aimed at helping youngsters cope with problems including anxiety, depression and self-harm, and tackle common pressures like bullying and exams.

The free-to-borrow books include self-help and non-fiction titles such as Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson and Blame My Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan, as well as popular novels such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

The aim is to help young people understand and explore the topic of mental health discretely and at their own pace, and to ensure quality assured mental health information and advice is available to them.

Reaching out

The council’s Cabinet Member for Cultural and Community Services Lorraine Lindsay-Gale said: "We’re very pleased to be taking part in this scheme and hope that by reaching out in this way, our libraries can help make a difference to young people’s lives.

"There are many pressures that can weigh heavily on the shoulders of young people these days, and the wisdom contained in these books might just help them navigate their way through a difficult patch or help them understand what’s going on in their head.

"The books are also a great read in their own right and can be enjoyed by everyone, so I would encourage anyone interested in the themes they address to browse through the collections at one of the libraries taking part or take a look at our online catalogue."

Reading Well scheme

The Reading Well scheme is delivered by The Reading Agency in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians. It is funded by Arts Council England and the Wellcome Trust. It is supported by a range of health organisations including NHS England (IAPT), Public Health England, Mental Health Foundation, Mind and YoungMinds.

The books can be accessed by anyone via the online catalogue , and collections are available at the following libraries:

  • Woodcote
  • Sonning Common
  • Littlemore
  • Bicester
  • Abingdon
  • Banbury
  • Witney
  • Didcot
  • Cowley
  • Summertown
  • Thame
  • Wantage
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