Libraries help people on road to recovery

Eastbourne Library SUS-141010-135547001
Eastbourne Library SUS-141010-135547001

Loans of self-help books for people with mental health concerns in East Sussex have soared since a ground-breaking scheme was introduced.

In 2006, East Sussex County Council was one of the first authorities in the country to offer the Books On Prescription service, in which GPs ‘prescribe’ books to people experiencing common issues such as anxiety or depression to borrow from their local library.

Across the country, loans of such titles have more than doubled since the scheme was rolled out nationally last year, with similar increases reported for each of the last three years in East Sussex, where more than 200 Books On Prescription titles are borrowed from libraries every month.

Chris Dowling at the county council said, “The feedback we receive indicates it really helps people to manage their condition and improve their lives. The increase in loans of self-help books demonstrates there is an enormous need for help and understanding and managing common mental health issues, and the fact that people trust their local library as a place in which to find this kind of information.

“The scheme is not intended to replace the care people receive through the NHS, but can help people to take a first step on the road to recovery.”

Recommended books are available for adults, families and young people and details can be found online at