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Doctors and nurses to recommend mental health books to young people

Doctors and school nurses can recommend books selected by mental health experts and young people in a new scheme for teenagers.

The selection of 35 books earmarked in the Reading Well scheme will be available at public libraries to help young people aged 13 to 18 get mental health information and advice.

The reading list includes Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Nicola Morgan's Don't Blame My Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed.

The scheme is part of the Reading Well Books on Prescription initiative which already has reading lists for adult mental health and dementia.

Half a million people have borrowed those titles since 2013.

The Reading Well scheme aims to provide young people “with high quality information, support and advice on a wide-range of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm and difficult life pressures, like bullying and exams.”

It is run by The Reading Agency and the Society of Chief Librarians and Society of Senior Children's and Education Librarians.

The books can be recommended by GPs, school nurses, counselors and other health professionals and are available to borrow for free from public libraries.

The book list was drawn up with the help of a panel of young people who have experience of mental health issues.

Debbie Hicks from The Reading Agency and Ciara Eastell, the president of the Society of Chief Librarians said the scheme “has been designed to help young people cope with the pressures of life and feel more confident about dealing with difficult experiences.”

They said the hoped the life lessons in the books would help young people's emotional resilience and wellbeing.