Reading Well Books on Prescription

What is Reading Well Books on Prescription?

Books on Prescription
Books on Prescription

Self-help books can help people understand and manage common conditions, including depression and anxiety. Individuals with mild to moderate mental health conditions often use self-help books as an early intervention or additional treatment.

The Books on Prescription scheme includes a core list of self-help books, which are based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help individuals understand and cope with a range of common conditions. Professor Neil Frude, a clinical psychologist, first developed it in Cardiff and there has been a national scheme in Wales since 2005.

For a full list of these self-help books visit the Reading Agency website.

The Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme will be launched in June 2013, as the first national scheme for England and all self-help books and other resources for the scheme will be available in all Kensington and Chelsea libraries.

Reading Well logo
Reading Well logo

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Books on Prescription Launch event

For a chance to know more about the Scheme and an opportunity to meet and network with key health professionals:

  • Wednesday 5 June, 2pm to 4pm
  • Brompton Library
    210 Old Brompton Road
    London SW5 0BS

Which topics does the Books on Prescription scheme cover?

  • anger
  • anxiety
  • binge eating/ Bulimia Nervosa
  • chronic fatigue
  • chronic pain
  • depression
  • health anxiety
  • obsessions and ompulsiocns
  • panic
  • phobias
  • relationship problems
  • self-esteem
  • social phobia
  • sleep problems
  • stress
  • worry

How does Reading Well Books on Prescription work?

Books can be recommended by your GP, psychological well-being practitioner or another health professional using the form attached to the user guide – you can find this in your local library or your local GP.

Individuals can then take their book recommendation to the library, where the book can be borrowed for free. If the book is not available, it can be reserved for you free of charge and the library will let you know when it arrives. Free reservations are available in most libraries.

Some people may also use the self-help books independently as a first step in seeking help.

Choosing a book
Choosing a book

What if I am not a library member, can I still borrow a book?

Yes you can. Joining is quick and easy when you go to the library to collect the book.  You will be asked to complete a short membership form and provide one form of identification such as a driver’s licence, passport or bank card.  If you need any assistance to complete the membership form or borrow a book, the library staff will be available to help you.

How long can I borrow a book for?

Books can be borrowed for three weeks and renewed a further four times.

Can books really help?

Research shows that reading improves mental well-being, and reduces stress levels by 67 per cent (Mindlab International, 2009). Also, there is strong evidence from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) that self-help reading can help people with common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

For more information about this research visit the Reading Agency website.

The books provide helpful information and step-by-step self-help techniques for managing common conditions, including depression and anxiety. Although books can sometimes work on their own, research has shown that self-help approaches work best when there is support from a health professional.

The books on the scheme have all been recommended by experts. They have been tried, tested and found to be useful.

Man reading book
Man reading book

What if the book doesn’t help?

If you find that the book you are reading is not helping, you should contact your GP or health professional for further advice.

You can also visit:

How can I tell you what I think of the scheme or the book I borrowed?

We would like to hear from you about your experience with the scheme and the recommended books, as this will help us to improve. You can contact us by email: or  for information or questions about the scheme.

Also services available in the libraries include: