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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Books on Prescription

- a new Book Prescription Scheme

Find the book list at the bottom of this screen

Books can help

Emotional problems are very common. Many people, perhaps even the majority, develop emotional or psychological problems at some time during their life. 1 in 4 people will have a mental health problem in the course of a year.

GPs can offer help for emotional problems Many people consult their GP for help with emotional difficulties. GPs might refer the person to a counsellor or to mental health services where psychologists or psychiatrists can provide treatment. The availability of these specialist resources is limited. Often the GP will offer advice, prescribe medication to relieve such symptoms as anxiety or depression, or recommend contact with a local voluntary agency.

Many self-help books have been shown to be very useful in helping people to overcome a range of psychological problems. The use of books as a means of providing psychological therapy is known as bibliotherapy. The scheme includes books on many of the common psychological problems that people experience, including depression, eating disorders, obsessional -compulsive problems, compulsive gambling, social phobia, panic, anger, stress, low self esteem and the aftermath of sexual abuse.

These books are all available to borrow from your local Birmingham library. You can visit in person or use the online catalogue

How the scheme works

GPs and other professionals (such as CMHPs, psychologists and counsellors) have a list of the self-help books recommended by specialists and can give an appropriate book on Prescription to patients in their care. You can borrow the books for up to 4 weeks. You can usually keep borrowed items for longer by renewing the loan up to three times if no-one else has requested the item. Many of the most effective books are self-help versions of the kind of therapy that would be given by a psychologist or counsellor. In many cases they present complete step-by-step treatment programmes with exercises, self-assessments, diary sheets, etc. to be completed by the reader.

What people have said

  • "The beauty of this book is its practical step-by-step approach"
  • "After reading this book, I felt a new sense of well-being".
  • "This book has really helped me to learn how to change those thoughts and become a more positive person"

Some questions you may have

Do I have to be a member of the library to use this service?
No, you don't have to be an existing member of the library. If you are not a member then you will be asked to sign a membership form when you take your book prescription into the library.

What if the book is unavailable?
Libraries in Birmingham have several copies of the book you have been prescribed. If what you want is out on loan or at another Birmingham library you can reserve it free of charge and collect it from your nearest library.

Is the service confidential?
Once you have your prescription, you can take it to the library or get someone else to take it for you. The library staff are professionals and will treat you with respect. This means that they will not give out any information about who is borrowing a book or what the book is about. Think of the library staff as you would think of your local pharmacist - as someone who can deliver what is prescribed with professional expertise and ethical practice.


Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust
South Birmingham Primary Care Trust
Birmingham East and North Primary Care Trust
Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust

Books On Prescription 2.Pdf

 PDF (Size: 350 Kb Type: pdf )