Book prescription scheme to benefit people with mental health problems


A brand new scheme is set to help local people with mild to moderate mental health problems recover using books rather than pills. GPs in Pontefract and the surrounding area will now be able prescribe self-help books to people with problems such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, relationship difficulties and bereavement.

The ‘Books on Prescription’ scheme has been launched by South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust’s PLATT service (primary care liaison assessment and treatment team) who are based at Bridge House, Pontefract. The team support people when they first develop mental health problems.

It is hoped the scheme will allow more local people access to psychological therapy. The treatment is often called ‘bibliotherapy’ and studies have shown that the use of high quality books such as those available on this scheme can produce similar results to drugs or psychotherapy.

Using a computerised system GPs in the area are now be able to select an appropriate self-help book, which they will then prescribe to the patient. Local libraries will ‘dispense’ the book prescription and library staff have been trained to operate in a professional and discreet manner. The scheme is suitable for most people who consult their GPs with a mild to moderate mental health problem, and all training, resources and information on how the scheme works will be provided.

Book-based therapy has many advantages over medication including; more immediate effects, lower relapse, no side effects, no danger of overdose and greater personal achievement. The books can be used as a stand alone treatment, along side medication or while the patient is waiting to see a counsellor or trained mental health specialist.

Counsellor Georgie Ramseyer from the PLATT service said, "The Books on Prescription scheme will be a valuable addition to mental health services in the local area. We hope it will empower people to be able to help themselves, decrease the stigma around mental health problems and improve understanding."

Book prescription scheme to benefit people with mental health problems

time to read: 1 min