- •Providing treatment for moderate to mild mental health problems has been tackled in a variety of ways, including bibliotherapy: the systematic provision of selected self-help texts and other written materials.
- •This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of such approaches through an evaluation of a particular intervention (Read Yourself Well – East Ayrshire Library Services). A key feature of the intervention was that it involved a range of stakeholders including GP practices, community-based NHS staff and the local library service.
- •Changes in mental health were measured using standard measures and it was found that there was significant improvement reported at the end of the intervention period by those who took part in the study.
- •The study shows that the delivery of bibliotherapy treatment for mild to moderate mental health problems can be successfully delivered through community-based services. However, further work is needed to establish how these services can work together, in order to improve take-up.
This paper reports on the evaluation of a bibliotherapy scheme delivered via a local library service, in conjunction with General Practice (GP) practices, local social welfare agencies and through self-referral. The Read Yourself Well (RYW) scheme was based on principles established from other similar schemes and as a way of delivering support for adults experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems for whom clinical treatments are not appropriate. The intervention consisted of initial referral and evaluation by the scheme bibliotherapist, a one-hour session at the beginning and end of the intervention where a purpose-designed questionnaire and two mental health assessments were carried out (the General Health Questionnaire and the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation questionnaire). Contact and support from the bibliotherapist was provided during the intervention period. One hundred and fifty-seven participants were recruited to the evaluation of whom 114 provided full data. Statistical analyses of the mental health scores showed significant improvements post treatment, for, both male and female participants, for all three referral routes, and for participants who were previously library users, and those who joined the library service to participate in the RYW scheme. The results of this large sample evaluation support the proposal that library-based bibliotherapy can be effective in the treatment of mental health problems.