BURY libraries are to help people with mental-health problems by launching a new reading project.

Under the Reading Well: Books on Prescription’ scheme, there are 30 recommended titles to choose from at local libraries.

They cover a range of common mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, phobias, panic attacks, bulimia and sleep problems.

Experts believe that reading more generally can help to improve a person’s wellbeing, and hope that people will also turn to novels, poetry and reading groups to help them feel better regularly.

It is estimated that about six million people in the UK suffer from anxiety or depression and threequarters of them receive no treatment.

The scheme is being run with NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and is co-ordinated through The Reading Agency and the Society of Chief Librarians.

A Bury Council spokesman said: “It’s all part of an old concept with a new name, bibliotherapy.

DH Lawrence wrote that “One sheds one’s sickness in books,” and research has shown that just six minutes of reading can be enough to reduce stress levels by more than two-thirds.”

Dr Kiran Patel, chairman and clinical lead for NHS Bury CCG, said: “Books on Prescription are quality assured selfhelp books designed to complement local health services, supporting patients to understand and manage their condition on a day to day basis.

“They have a good track record in helping people with a range of common mental health problems.

“For many, picking up a self-help book will be their first step to recovery, empowering them to take control of their condition while improving their quality of life.”

■ For further information about the Books on Prescription scheme: visit readingagency.org.uk