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Patients to get self-help books

More patients suffering from a range of conditions are to be given self-help books on the NHS instead of drugs.

Several local councils and health trusts are joining forces to allow GPs to prescribe the books from libraries.

It is part of the Books on Prescription (BoP) scheme to coincide with World Mental Health Day next month.

The drive is designed to help patients cope with anxiety, depression, stress, abuse, anorexia, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Experts hope it will enable people to work through their problems, without resorting to medicines.

BoP is being supported of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an alternative approach to medications.

The scheme has been launched in conjunction with St Helens Borough Council library service.

Wally Ashcroft, St Helens Council's executive member for culture, heritage and sport, said: "Books can be borrowed for up to eight weeks and people who are not members of their local library can join immediately as long as they take their prescription along to their local library with proof of identity."

Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and some London boroughs are also taking part in the project.

St Helens Council

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"Education is empowerment. I think its a great idea, and we are so happy to see that World Mental Health Day is being associated with your project - Deborah Maguire, Word Federation For Mental Health, USA