Shelf-Help: Supporting Teenage Mental Health
Cast your mind back to when you were a teenager, just before the summer holidays. Those six weeks seemed like such a long time. Currently CAMHS say that no child or young person has to wait more than 17 weeks to receive help. That's nearly three summer holidays back-to-back, so for a young person, especially one who needs help, this may seem like an unbearable wait. That's where schemes like Reading Well come in.
The Reading Well list has been curated by young people, for young people, with the help of medical and library professionals, and charity YoungMinds. The book address a range of difficulties: bullying, self-esteem, self-harm, depression, OCD, anxiety, body image, autism, and stress. As well as self-help books, the 35-book list includes graphic novels and fiction. The young people involved expressed how important it was to them to find books that were honest, empathetic, trustworthy and not patronising.
As many as 90% of libraries across the country are backing the scheme and have ordered the reading list and necessary resources. This is an amazing display of support to address a big problem. One in 10 teenagers have a mental health problem; three in every classroom. Early intervention is key in terms of protecting the mental health of children and young people. Struggling with mental health difficulties shouldn't just be dismissed as 'part of being a teenager'. The Reading Well scheme could go a long way towards preventing the mental health problems of individual teenagers from becoming worse, raising awareness and reducing stigma amongst young people.
To find out more visit Reading Well