A new scheme promoting book-based therapy for dementia sufferers will be launched in libraries in England in January 2015.
The scheme comes from The Reading Agency and The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and follows success for the Reading Well: Books on Prescription initiative for common mental health conditions launched last year.
The Books on Prescription scheme sees GPs and health professionals prescribe books, which are also available for anyone to borrow from their local library. There are 7,000 prescribers using the scheme, which has reached around 275,000 people and been endorsed by GPs, mental health professionals and Government ministers as a helpful community-based mental health service. Loans of the self-help books included in the scheme are said to have more than doubled since it was launched.
In a recent survey, nearly everyone who had borrowed a book from the Books on Prescription core list of 30 titles said it had been helpful, with around three quarters saying their book had helped them understand more about their condition and feel more confident about managing their symptoms.
Dr James Kingsland, president of the National Association of Primary Care, said: “The feedback I have had from patients has been incredibly positive, and it is brilliant to have the option of accredited book-based cognitive behavioural therapy available for free from public libraries.” He added: “I am looking forward to the new dementia scheme in 2015.”
Norman Lamb, minister of state for care and support, said: “I am delighted that the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme has been so effective in its first year and to hear that it has helped people understand more about their condition.” He described the new dementia scheme as “an exciting development, which I hope will be just as successful”.