‘Medicine for the mind’ promoted across Mayo libraries

The potential benefits of using self-help books to address a number of common psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and binge eating, are being promoted through a library book scheme.

The Healthy Reading Scheme 2015 was launched recently at Ballina Library.

The scheme, a joint initiative by the HSE and Mayo County Council library services, sees a total of 88 self-help books being made available, for free, to all library members at various branches throughout the county.

All of the books have been recommended by health professionals and topics covered include bereavement, depression, relationship problems, parenting issues, and self-esteem.

While self help books are not a substitute for professional support to address severe or complex problems, research has shown that, when used by motivated and engaged readers, certain books can be effective in the treatment of a number of common mild to moderate psychological problems, according to the HSE.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme, Dr Meena O’Neill, HSE principal psychologist, said the Mayo Healthy Reading Scheme gives people more choice in their approach to treating common psychological problems. 

“It also gives large numbers of people free and immediate access to what can be, when used appropriately, an effective psychological tool,” said Dr O’Neill.

Former Mayo senior football team manager and recently announced Mayo Person of the Year, James Horan, expressed his support for the initiative.

“I am delighted that Mayo is leading the way on this initiative,” outlined Mr Horan. “It is very appropriate that these self-help books are being promoted at the start of a new year.  People need to be as aware of their mental wellbeing as they are of their physical health.”

Mayo county librarian, Austin Vaughan, said the scheme was first launched in 2009 but was relaunched recently at Ballina Library because it had been a huge success.

“Hundreds of books on all sorts of emotional and health issues have been borrowed in the county since the scheme was first launched in 2009,” he said.

“I hope more and more people will come to the library for ‘medicine for the mind’.  Next time you feel down, remember you can reach for a book as one of the supports available to you,” he advised.   

Reading lists are available for adults, with a specific reading list for parents.

Copies of information leaflets with the reading lists and further information on the scheme are available at all libraries, health centres, and GP surgeries throughout the county. 

For further information, visit www.mayocountylibrary.ie or telephone (094 ) 90479224.


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