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Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has today launched the Better with Books (Wales) scheme which provides self-help books to children and young people.

First published:
16 November 2016
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The books are designed to help readers through a difficult period in their lives and feature topics such as bereavement, divorce, puberty and bullying. They’re also available for those suffering from mild to moderate mental health issues or emotional stress.

Children and young people can often find it difficult to talk about their emotions, and reading about a subject may help them understand their feelings and find ways to cope.

Self- help books, which are available at local libraries and can be borrowed free of charge, can be recommended by professionals who come into contact with young people, such as GPs, school counsellors, school nurses, teachers, or youth centre staff.

Vaughan Gething said:

“We all know the importance of reading both for entertainment and to expand our knowledge.  We all have a favourite book, one where we connected with the characters and went on their journey through the story with them.  They helped us understand the world around us and form our own views and opinions.  

“The Better with Books (Wales) scheme builds on this principle. The characters in the stories experience the range of issues, problems and emotions which affect young people today, such as bullying, bereavement and stress in a way they can relate to and research has shown the effectiveness of this approach which builds on the Book Prescription Wales (BPW) scheme for adults and similar schemes adopted locally by health boards.
“This is a new, national scheme which will provide consistency for all children and young people across Wales.”

Books are available for young people, older adolescents and parents/carers and have been reviewed by child and adolescent mental health professionals, librarians and young people themselves.They are grouped into themes of the most common issues affecting young people.

Research has shown the effectiveness of high quality self-help books.  Building emotional resilience and addressing problems early can have a positive effect on the social and educational attainment of a young person.