Parkes Shire Library will launch a new collection called ‘Books On Prescription’ on Friday. The idea is to provide books and a supporting website, that can be accessed for free, to address the most common mental health illnesses in the Central West region.
Books on Prescription (BoP) is the first bibliotherapy program to be offered in Australia. Shellie Buckle, Parkes Shire Council’s Manager Cultural, Education & Library Service, is thrilled to be able to bring this program to communities in the Parkes Shire.
She describes bibliotherapy using Liz Brewster’s explanation from her 2008 Public Library Journal article ‘Medicine for the Soul’: “Bibliotherapy can best be described as using books to help people understand and deal with mental and physical health problems.”
The BoP program is based on a national scheme originating in the United Kingdom. The scheme was developed following the recommendations in a government report with the aim of cutting waiting lists, reducing the amount of drugs prescribed, and offering an appropriate level of treatment for the majority of people who visit their GP with common mental health problems.
Peak mental health organisations and publishers helped create of a list of suggested titles. The University of Newcastle Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health and volunteer clinicians, selected 17 titles to be the core of the collection. The website, www.booksonprescription.com.au, ensures current, timely access to mental health information.
“BoP is a service that will help community members use reading to understand and manage their health and wellbeing. Health professionals endorse the scheme and the books have been tried and tested by people with experience of living with mental health conditions. The service is free and confidential and builds on the library’s role as a safe, non-judgemental environment for sourcing information and support,” Shellie said.
The community is invited to join the Parkes Library team for the launch of Books on Prescription today at 10.30am.