The Books on Prescription scheme is an effective way of helping people with common mental health problems and is based on similar schemes that have been running successfully in the UK since 2003. WellSouth gained permission to implement the scheme in New Zealand in 2011 and began working with libraries in Central Otago. Since then the scheme has been progressively rolled out throughout Otago and Southland and is now available in all the Public Libraries in this region and to staff and students at the University of Otago through the University’s Medical Library.

Extensive evaluation of Books on Prescription and the use of self-help books for improving mental wellbeing has been undertaken overseas with very positive results. In 2014 WellSouth conducted its own research to evaluate various aspects of our local scheme. The executive summary can be downloaded here: Executive Summary for Stakeholders.

After the evaluation we expanded the scheme to include mood-boosting books, other topics areas, such as diabetes and heart disease, and added smartphone apps and videos to the website. There are now three components of the programme:

Read Yourself Well – a collection of books available at your local library. Reading has been shown to be an effective tool to help with self-management of a health problem.
T’App Yourself well – a set of smartphone apps available via this website. Technology may be a useful tool to help understand and manage a health problem.
Listen Yourself Well – podcasts and videos available via this website which may help you to understand and manage a health problem. Supported by Otago Access Radio 105.4FM and Radio Southland 96.4FM.