ABOUT 40 people attended the launch of a new mental health initiative for Australia at Orange City Library on Friday.
Representatives from Central West Libraries and program partner University of Newcastle’s centre for remote and rural mental health attended the launch of Books on Prescription.
Books on Prescription was inspired by a similar project in the UK and helps people to understand and manage common mental health conditions using self-help reading.
Each book was selected by a panel of experts and has been tried and tested and can be borrowed without a referral, however people are still encouraged to seek support from a health professional.
GPs, psychologists or other health professionals may also recommend one of the books as part of a treatment plan for conditions including anxiety, binge-eating, depression, obsessions and compulsions, panic, phobias, relationship problems, self-esteem, sleep problems, social phobia, stress and worry.
The scheme is endorsed by health professionals and beyondblue ambassador Hayley Nicholls was the guest speaker at the launch.
Miss Nicholls became a volunteer speaker for beyondblue to share her experiences with depression and anxiety in the hope of starting conversations in social groups and workplaces on the importance of identifying symptoms of mental health conditions in peers, colleagues and friends.
Although she still recommended people see a doctor, she said Books on Prescription was a middle ground between seeking medical treatment and searching for information on the internet, which has valuable recourses but can be a minefield of varying information.
“In your own time you can get information [using Books on Prescription],” Miss Nicholls said.
“It’s a middle ground than mostly googling or seeing a GP, it’s endorsed by qualified practitioners.”