Doctors in England now have a new therapy to prescribe for patients suffering from mild to moderate depression and you can’t find it inside a bottle. A program recently launched allows doctors to prescribe books to their patients as a way to help them overcome different mental illnesses like depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and phobias.
Boston Globe reports about England’s National Health Service and the Books on Prescription program that was launched in June. Patients can now take home prescriptions from their physicians with different titles like “Overcoming Depression,” “Mind Over Mood,” or “The Feeling Good Handbook.” Giving mental health advice through books is nothing new, but the act of prescribing a book to a patient may impress the importance of being educated about the illness and help them maintain better mental health.
In the past there has been proof that self-help books can actually do a lot of good for some people suffering from various mental health problems. A 2007 literature review found that books could treat anxiety as effectively without a therapist to guide a patient as it did with a therapist.
Wales psychiatrist Dr. Neil Frude understands that Books on Prescription may not be for everyone or be able to treat every case, but he explains how authors who are experienced clinicians can make readers feel like a book is truly about them. And readers who are able to personally connect with the text can use the tools offered to benefit their mental health.
What do you think of the Books on Prescription program to treat depression?
Do you think a program like this can actually help patients improve their mental health?