To coincide with World Mental Health Day, which took place on Saturday 10th October, local libraries are joining with The Reading Agency, the Society of Chief Librarians Cymru and Libraries Connected to launch a new collection of ‘Reading Well for children’ books.
The books, which are available in English and Welsh from libraries across Bridgend county borough, cover areas such as anxiety, bereavement and bullying and have been carefully selected by leading health professionals to support the mental health and wellbeing of children.
The books are targeted at children in Key Stage 2 (aged 7-11), but include titles aimed at a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers, and to encourage children to read together with their siblings, parents and carers.
From Monday 12th October they were made available in branches which have recently re-opened for browsing, or they can be reserved as part of Awen Libraries’ ‘Book and Collect’ service.
Councillor Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Well-Being and Future Generations, said: “The Reading Well service seeks to better support the mental health and well-being of children by covering topics such as bullying, bereavement, anxiety and other issues which they will be able to relate to.
“This is another excellent way of providing them with support in a manner which they can feel comfortable with, and I am sure that it will prove to be of great use to them.”
Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, the registered charity which manages the library and home delivery service on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Council, said:
“During these strange and challenging times, there is an ever greater need for quality-assured health information, advice and stories to support children and young people in understanding and managing their mental health and wellbeing. There is evidence to prove that reading can help children get through difficult times in their lives.
“It is so important that we provide access to books which offer the right help and advice, and give children and young people a way to start conversations about their feelings with others, so we have ensured we have the whole collection of 33 titles on offer within each of our libraries.”
Reading Well for children will be the third Reading Well scheme to be delivered in Wales, following Reading Well for dementia, which was launched as part of the Dementia Action Plan for Wales in 2018, and Reading Well for mental health, which forms part of the Together for Mental Health strategy.