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|Bibliotherapy for low mood (at the seaside). Image from easier.com|
For depression it’s always best to contact your GP and discuss the possibility of therapy and/or medication.
There’s been a lot in the media lately about using books to assist good mental health, largely because of the NHS decision to start “prescribing” self-help material for mental health issues.
As part of the “Books on Prescription” scheme, patients could be recommended one of 30 medical volumes dealing with specific conditions by their GP. These will be available to borrow from libraries, and not restricted to those “prescribed” them. Alternatively, the “Mood-boosting Books” scheme is a national promotion of uplifting novels, non-fiction and poetry selected by readers, which includes writers such as Jo Brand, Bill Bryson and Terry Jones. Ms McKearney, director of The Reading Agency, has said: “It will encourage people to use the other reading aspects from libraries to help them feel better: novels, poetry and reading groups.” Here’s the link to the 2012 list of mood-boosting books by The Reading Agency.
As I began my blog with the intention of blogging about books that have helped, or are helping, my own mental health, this is really exciting news. I believe that the “Books on Prescription” scheme could provide useful complimentary support, whilst the “Mood-boosting Books” project can work to sustain good mental health, particular after therapy and courses of medication.
Recent news articles have also ascertained that the encouraged books do not have to be of the uplifting, funny and summery variety. One such piece by The Telegraph is entitled “Depressing books could be just what the doctor ordered“. I don’t think that the miserable alternative approach would work best for me; I had to have several breaks from McCarthy’s The Road because it was making me feel so low. I’m lucky enough not to have suffered low mood recently, however. A few years ago I had some really unhappy patches, but in hindsight they must have been highly related to undiagnosed PTSD. Nowadays, having things to look forward to, being positive, and, of course, reading good books helps.
- Recuerdos – Antonio Machado (poem)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
- The Art of Slow Travel – Dan Kieran
- The Smile – William Blake (poem)
- Collected Poems – William Wordsworth
- Notes From a Small Island – Bill Bryson
- The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
- To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
- Pnin – Vladimir Nabokov
- Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
- A Parrot in the Pepper Tree – Chris Stewart
- The Enchanted April – Elizabeth von Arnim
- Something you read as a child. Try and read The Very Hungry Caterpillar without smiling.
- Suggested by Brian: Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse
- Also try reading this post: Positive Books, Films and Actions to Brighten Your Day
More gloomy books that you may (or may not) relate to:
- Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
- Of Mice And Men – John Steinbeck
- The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
- The Road – Cormac McCarthy
- Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates
- A Farewell To Arms – Ernest Hemingway
- The End Of The Affair – Graham Greene
- The Heart Of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
- Lord Of The Flies – William Golding
- Atonement – Ian McEwan
- Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
- The Trial – Franz Kafka
- Mariana – Tennyson (poem)
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