Libraries launch Healthy Reading Scheme

Many people have difficulty coping with the pressures of modern life. Bereavement, bullying, stress, and low self-esteem are just some of the factors which can see people become overwhelmed by daily life. This can lead to people feeling isolated, alone, and misunderstood.

Books can help! An appropriate book may not only suggest ways to manage problems but also reassure people that they are not alone. Reading can provide support, guidance, and direction, and empower the reader to work toward maintaining good mental health.

On Thursday June 17, Westmeath County Library Service is launching a new support scheme based on healthy reading. The service will be launched at 6.30pm by cathaoirleach Cllr Fintan Cooney.

This scheme has identified a wide range of issues which can affect mental health, including understanding mental health, stress, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, bullying, suicide, bereavement, schizophrenia, addiction, eating disorders, Alzheimer’s and dementia, and abuse.

A leaflet has been produced on each topic. Each leaflet lists books which can offer information and advice. However the scheme goes a step further by identifying helplines and websites that can offer help and support to individuals who are struggling to cope and to friends and family who may have concerns.

The scheme initially will be piloted in both Mullingar and Athlone libraries, but people in any part of the county will be able to access the books and leaflets through their local library. Copies of the leaflet packs will be circulated to all doctors, social workers and help care professionals.

The healthy reading scheme in Westmeath is a partnership project which has received advice and funding from HSE Community Care, Mental Health Ireland, RAPID, Westmeath Community Development, and Mullingar Lions Club.

The healthy reading scheme is a good example of what is possible when a number of service providers come together to work in a creative manner to improve the quality of life for the people of Westmeath

To find out more about the healthy reading scheme or about libraries and their opening hours, visit



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