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Book scheme aims for better health

PUBLISHED: 09:22 29 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:46 08 July 2010

A scheme encouraging people to learn more about their emotional health problems through reading is being extended into south Norfolk.

The scheme run by Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Norfolk County Council's library and information service means that after visiting a GP or health professional, a person is given a prescription for recommended reading information from a booklist compiled by the mental health team.

A scheme encouraging people to learn more about their emotional health problems through reading is being extended into south Norfolk.

The scheme run by Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Norfolk County Council's library and information service means that after visiting a GP or health professional, a person is given a prescription for recommended reading information from a booklist compiled by the mental health team.

The book prescription service scheme was successfully introduced in the King's Lynn area in November and is also up and running in the Norwich and Yarmouth areas.

Now towns and villages in south Norfolk including Attleborough, Costessey, Dereham, Diss, Harleston, Hethersett, Hingham, Loddon, Long Stratton, Watton and Wymondham will benefit from the new service, as will Poringland later this year when the local library for the area opens in the spring.

The library service has bought additional stocks of these books for all 10 libraries in south Norfolk and extended borrowing from three weeks to eight weeks has also been agreed with Norfolk Library Service.

Sheila Hodgson, a link worker for the trust's primary mental health team in south Norfolk, said: “The recommended books will complement the clinical treatments offered, and can be used by patients at their leisure to further help understand and overcome their problems. Longer loans and other reference materials such as websites can also be offered, depending on individual needs.”

Jennifer Holland, head of the county council's library and information service, said: “Books can help people to manage and overcome a range of difficulties by helping them to understand emotional and psychological issues.

“All libraries provide free access to books and information on a vast range of topics, and they also provide free access to the internet.

“The book prescription scheme is already working well in other parts of the county and I'm delighted that it is now being extended into south Norfolk,” she said.

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