People with mental health problems to be prescribed self-help books

People with mental health problems are to be prescribed self-help books by GPs.

A trial of “bibliotherapy”, which launches next month in surgeries around Westminster in London, involves people with phobias, depression, stress and anxiety, collecting recommended titles from their local library.

The scheme is being run by Westminster Council and NHS Westminster. It will be piloted for six months

An approved list of 21 self-help titles has been chosen. They include books such as Overcoming Depression by Chris Williams, Managing Social Anxiety by Debra Hope, The Worry Cure by Robert Leahy and Anorexia Nervosa: A Survival Guide by Janet Treasure.

Dr Sam Rodgers of the Marven Medical Practice, which is taking part in the trial, said: “From an academic perspective there is evidence that books are of benefit for conditions like anxiety and depression. A lot of patients do not like the idea of medication and the ‘talking cures’ all require several appointments and that bites into people’s lives.”

Some titles chosen for the reading pilot:

Overcoming Depression: A Five Areas Approach
(Chris Williams)
Overcoming Depression One Step at a Time
(Michael Addis and Christopher Martell)

Manage Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide (Gillian Butler and Tony Hope)

The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook (Edmund J Bourne)
The Worry Cure (Robert Leahy)
Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic (David Barlow
and Michelle Craske) Managing Social Anxiety (Debra Hope, Richard Heimburg, Harlan Juster and Cynthia Turk)

Mastering Your Fears and Phobias (Martin Anthony, Michelle Craske and David Barlow)

Overcoming Anger and Irritability (William Davies)

Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
(David Veale and Rob Wilson)

Overcoming Binge Eating (Christopher Fairburn)
Anorexia Nervosa: A Survival Guide (Janet Treasure)

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