Mental Health Awareness Week – Surviving or Thriving?

Read, learn and connect with us during this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week –

Libraries’ positive contribution to the mental well-being of the population is well documented – see the Arts Council’s publication on ‘The health and wellbeing benefits of public libraries.’ 

I say population and not just customers or residents as it has been said that living near a library and, indeed, just walking past a library has a positive effect on one’s emotional and mental well-being.

Of course we in libraries are keen to invite people to come through the doors and experience the well-being benefits first hand. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Surviving or Thriving’ which encourages us to look at our physical and mental well-being.

Some of our offers are more obviously health focused, our health information displays encourage us to feed our brains with the right food and suggest ways to be more active, as well as giving information on managing and living well with chronic conditions.  Poor physical health can be a drain on our mental and emotional strength and poor mental health can lead to inactivity, poor diet and so the cycle continues.

One way to break cycles of unhelpful thoughts and behaviours is cognitive behavioural therapy and in the West London Clinical Commissioning Group area there is Time to Talk, a free psychological therapy service.

In order to help people decide whether this service is for them or for support while waiting for a referral, or during, or after therapy, the libraries’ Reading Well Books on Prescription collections are recommended by GPs and health promotion specialists. A new collection put together to support those living with chronic conditions will be launched in July this year.

The Reading Well Books on Prescription initiative is part of our Bibliotherapy offer. Our libraries host read aloud groups in partnership with The Reader Organisation. These facilitator led Book Break groups meet every week and give members the opportunity to join in reading aloud from good literature and discuss what has been read over a cup of tea or coffee or just sit back, listen and enjoy the company.

It is encouraging to look at how we in libraries contribute to what is called ‘the wider determinants of health’  All the things in our lives that support us, family, work, employment, housing, finances, education, lifelong learning, English classes, coffee mornings, knitting groups, activities for children and teenagers, employment advice, business information points for entrepreneurs old and young, all these available in libraries.

Libraries have always been inspirational and aspirational encouraging us to ask for more learning and knowledge and skills to create meaningful lives for ourselves and our families.

There are also some very good enjoyable fiction books available free to borrow hard copy or online! See our new book displays or see what eBooks and eMagazines we have. Did you know that reading for as little as six minutes can improve mental well-being?

See what you can do this Mental Health Awareness week to look after your own mental well-being, eat well, sleep well, go for a walk in one of our gorgeous parks and yes, visit your local library.

Kate Gielgud
Health Information Co-ordinator

Shelf Help for Teens

During the month of April people across London have been reading the same book about riot and civil unrest as part of Cityread London. Ten Days by Gillian Slovo is about power play, racial tension, rioting and disorder: a perfect storm where characters just boil over – they can’t take any more.

It’s a reflection of life: sometimes times get hard and that’s when a lot of people through the ages have turned to books, both writing and reading them (Shakespeare had a lot to get out of his system, and he did it so well that we remember him 400 years later!). Young adults especially face a lot of pressure in their lives. 

Here in libraries we’ve a got a brand new collection of books for young people between the ages of 13 and 18. The collection (Books on Prescription) was launched last week and they’re already flying off the shelves. There are books about depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self harm, living with autism and more. They are really helpful and some are funny too (you’ve got to see the funny side sometimes!). Some of the books are a bit like guides or reference books and some are fiction but based on real people and real lives. They’ve been chosen by young people with experience of mental health issues, and you can find them in your local library, browse the collection online or even have them recommended to you by your doctor.

Some titles include:

  • eatingdisCan I tell you about eating disorders? A guide for friends, family and professionals. This book has been written for 7-15 year olds to help them understand and learn about different eating disorders.
  • Vicious: true stories by teens about bullying. Teens write about their experiences with bullying of all kinds; physical, verbal, relational and cyber.
  • Banish your body image thief. An imaginative workbook looking at what body image means and how it develops, and is packed with strategies to help you change how you think and act in order to build a positive body image.

 

 

 

Look at the Young Minds website for further sources of help and information. Don’t forget to have a look in your local library for our new Books on Prescription: ask a member of staff, or look for the BOP stickers on the spine.

 

bop1

 

 

Reading Well in Kensington & Chelsea

Reading Well logo

 

Following the Reading Agency launch of the Reading Well Books on Prescription Dementia Collection on Monday 26 January, libraries across the three boroughs gave community and health partners, as well as members of the public, the chance to find out about our Reading Well initiatives, with collection launches at five libraries.

The first launch event was at Pimlico Library (read more on Books & the City) and the final two took place at Hammersmith and Fulham libraries (read more on LBHF Libraries). Nestled between were the launches in Kensington and Chelsea:

North Kensington launch of Books on Prescription Dementia Collection
North Kensington launch of Reading Well – Books on Prescription Dementia Collection

 

The first Kensington launch was at North Kensington Library on 4 February, a lunchtime event with partners from the Stroke Association, Age UK, the Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster Memory Service, Open Age, West African Women’s network development and the Depression Alliance.  The Remembering Together display was on show and attracted a lot of interest.

North Kensington display including Books on Prescription core and Dementia Collections, plus Mood Boosting Books
North Kensington display including Books on Prescription core and Dementia Collections, plus Mood Boosting Books

 

Then it was the turn of Brompton Library on 6 February, led by librarian Stephanie Webb and Diane Sherlock, author of Come into the Garden. Stephanie and Diane led a discussion on Reading Well Books on Prescription over tea and scones with members of the public who shared their own experiences of caring for relatives with dementia. Kathryn Gilfoy from Westminster Arts answered questions about living well with dementia, Kathryn runs the memory cafes in north and south Westminster. Diane read some of her poems.

Five different launches in different libraries in the three boroughs, only made possible by joint working with library staff and health and community partners.

Very warm thanks to Silva, Adisa, Gaynor and Besant at North Kensington, Katie and Stephanie at  Brompton and all colleagues! Thanks to Diane Sherlock and Nell Dunn who donated their time and to Kathryn and Freya from Westminster Arts. Thanks to the Stroke Association who donate their time and resources to help prevent vascular dementia by preventing stroke.

Libraries are doing their bit for Dementia.  If you would like to join the Dementia Alliance, contact Helen.ODonovan@alzheimers.org.uk.

[Kate Gielgud]

 

The Brompton Blog – June 2013

Brompton Library
Brompton Library

Another month has rapidly passed and we reach the mid-point of the year. As holiday season is approaching, students are cramming for final exams, people are preparing for their summer holidays and the British public look forward to the birth of a Royal baby, here is what has been happening at Brompton Library since we last posted.

(If you’re joining us for the first time, this is the monthly blog post from Brompton Library that highlights some of the events, activities and services that our library provides.)

Books on Prescription

Books on Prescription
Books on Prescription

June saw the launch of Books on Prescription scheme in which healthcare professionals welcomed members of the public into our meeting room and offered a range of free advice, health checks, head massages and free fruit deserts for the afternoon.

This was a chance to promote an initiative to help people to use self-help books to manage common conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress through reading books based on CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). I got a chance to speak with a few patrons who were really impressed with the ideas and advice that was on offer. Another positive day in the library!

There’s more information about this scheme on our Books on Prescription page on our website.

Stephanie Webb
Stephanie Webb

Stephanie Webb

Lending Librarian

Bear masks, Dear Zoo and a new Children’s Laureate

Goldilocks and the three bears
Goldilocks and the three bears

The Brompton Children’s Library half term craft event was well attended. We read Goldilocks and the Three Bears and had colouring pictures of the bears out walking and another of baby bear discovering Goldilocks in his bed! We made bear masks so we could be pretend to be bears as well.

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

The first Saturday of every month we have a story and craft session. This month we read Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. We made a surprise picture with a flap like the illustrations in Dear Zoo. Everyone liked the dog picture we had to go under the flap. We are very pleased to hear that Malorie Blackman is the new Children’s Laureate. We have displayed books of hers that we have in stock.

Elisabeth Brown
Elisabeth Brown

Elisabeth Brown

Senior Customer Services Assistant

Katie’s Corner

The Island by Victoria Hislop
The Island by Victoria Hislop

Our monthly reading group met and discussed The Thread by Victoria Hislop this month.

Set in Thessaloniki, it is as much a biography of the city’s turbulent history as it is of the characters within the book. Set in the current time, a young man is considering relocating there or moving back to the UK. Surprised by his grandparent’s devotion to this city, they start to recount their own lives, through war, desolation, strife, and love.

This is a powerfully moving story and it was a gripping read. Victoria Hislop has really done her research into this place. The real events and politics of this country and the varying cultures of their land ripped into this city – its survival of all that happens to it is inspiring in itself. Everyone really enjoyed this book and it sparked off a debate about politics. That’s what I love about our reading group, we can dovetail into fascinating discussions – strong views are welcomed!

The only thing which we did find disappointing about the book was that it tended to go off into a Mills and Boon ending, where things got tied up very neatly. Overall though we all thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

Next month we’ll be reading ‘Various Pets Alive and Dead’ by Marina Lewycka. I am really looking forward to this! Details of when and where we meet can be found on the reading groups page on our website.

Katie Collis
Katie Collis

Katie Collis

Senior Customer Services Assistant