Matt Haig and Ruby Wax are some of the authors chosen by the Reading Agency and Society of Chief Librarians to celebrate its 'Reading Well for Mental Health' campaign.
The “life-saving” reads will be unveiled on Tuesday (5th June) at a flagship event at the Wellcome Trust in London as part of the annual campaign. Each title has been chosen to provide support to people with mental health needs and their carers.
This year’s list of books includes Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive (Canongate), Cathy Rentzenbrink A Manual for Heartache (Picador), The Boy with the Topknot (Penguin) by Sathnam Sanghera and Ruby Wax’s A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled (Penguin Life) as well as various others.
The 40-strong list of expert-endorsed reads also includes self-help titles, with all the books available in libraries across England.
“Reading Well is an absolutely brilliant scheme that recognises the true proven therapeutic power of words,” Haig said. “It will help people facing mental struggles to feel understood, and to get help. This scheme will improve, and maybe even save, many lives."
Sanghera, whose experience of relatives living with mental health conditions influenced his book, said he hopes campaigns such as this “make people with these conditions and their carers feel less lonely”.
Since launching in 2013, the Reading Well programme has impacted the lives of over 778,000 people in the UK.
Reading Well’s co-producer from the Coalition for Collaborative Care, Katie Clarke-Day, helped develop the scheme with The Reading Agency, Society of Chief Librarians and health professionals.
Clarke-Day, who lives with multiple long-term conditions, said: “There is a lot of information contained within these books that could save lives, sometimes just the simple recognition that the way you feel has a name or that other people felt this too. I don’t think we can underestimate the power of this list.”
Jackie Doyle-Price, minister for mental health and inequalities, added: “We know that some people can be hesitant to access support, or may be looking for advice on how to help someone else dealing with a mental health issue - Reading Well is a welcome initiative to help empower people and inform everyone about their own mental health.”
The list is curated with mental health experts and includes books to support people undergoing talking therapies, as well as guided and unguided self-help and cognitive behavioural therapy titles.