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. 2008 Dec;5(4):219-28.

The Introduction of a Healthy Reading Scheme for People With Mental Health Problems: Usage and Experiences of Health Professionals and Library Staff

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The Introduction of a Healthy Reading Scheme for People With Mental Health Problems: Usage and Experiences of Health Professionals and Library Staff

Roma Robertson et al. Ment Health Fam Med. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Objective This study aimed to explore utilisation of a 'healthy reading' service and to offer further insight into improving the processes and uptake of book prescribing so that more people have the opportunity to access this treatment.Method Semi-structured interviews with librarians and prescribers. Collection of routine library data.Results The scheme was thought to have been well organised, and borrowings by library users were high. A prescription was presented for 17% of borrowings. Health professionals who already used bibliotherapy in their practice were particularly positive about the scheme. There is potential to increase prescribing from other health professionals, especially general practitioners (GPs). Barriers to use included remembering the service, lack of knowledge about resources, concerns that patients would find resources difficult to use, and the time required within the consultation.Conclusion This research showed that the healthy reading scheme provided a useful treatment option for patients with mild mental health problems and was also well used by library members. Regular reminders about the service and training for prescribers have the potential to increase patient access to resources. Further research is required to determine whether this model of bibliotherapy meets the needs of users of healthy reading materials in accessing the service.Healthy reading has a place in stepped care models for improving mental health at both community and primary care levels. As well as being used as an adjunct therapy it could, in some cases, be an alternative to antidepressant prescribing and help reduce waiting lists for more staff-intensive psychological therapies.

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