Council launch scheme to support young people’s mental health

Portsmouth Library Service are launching a scheme to support young people with mental health issues, with expert-endorsed books available to borrow for free.

Shelf Help is a national scheme — part of the hugely-successful Reading Well programme, which provides 13–18-year-olds with high-quality information, support, and advice on a wide range of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and difficult life pressures like bullying and exams.

To celebrate the launch of the scheme, Portsmouth Central Library are inviting local stand-up comedian Joe Wells — writer of one of the books in the collection — to talk about his experience as a young person affected by OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

This event starts at 3:00pm on Monday 25th April. There will also be an opportunity to learn more about the scheme and browse the books in its collection, which includes a wide range of self-help and information titles, memoirs, graphic novels, and fiction, such as:

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson
  • Blame My Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan
  • The Self-Esteem Team’s Guide to Sex, Drugs, and WTFs?!
  • Banish Your Body Image Thief
  • Breaking Free from OCD

Lindy Elliott Library Services Manager at Portsmouth City Council said: “Shelf Help, is an important and very welcome addition to the health collections offered by the library service in Portsmouth. The collection is recommended by young people and health experts so we are confident it will provide positive help for children and young people.”

With 1 in 10 young people now having diagnosable mental health issues, and the proportion of 15–16-year-olds who frequently report that they feel anxious or depressed having doubled over the past 30 years, there is an enormous need for quality-assured mental health information and advice for young people.

The Shelf Help scheme was co-created with a panel of young people who have experienced mental health issues, tailoring it to aid understanding of wellbeing and emotional resilience. The books can be recommended by GPs, school nurses, counsellors, and other health professionals, as well as borrowed for free from the library.

Find out more about mental health and wellbeing in our city over on the Portsmouth City Council website »