Newcastle Libraries launch new collection to support Children’s Mental Health Week

Libraries across Newcastle will celebrate Children’s Mental Health Week by stocking the new Reading Well booklist for children.

The collection is made up of 33 books and is targeted towards children who are in key stage two – aged 7 – 11, and has been curated by health professionals, children, and families. Books are grouped into six different categories: healthy minds, worries, the world around you, in the news, getting through a tough time, and when you have a diagnosis.

The #readingwell booklist has been put together in response to data from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which reported on average 183 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services referrals every day in 2018. The books have been selected to encourage children to have conversations with the parents and carers about their feelings.

Catherine Roche, the CEO of the charity Place2Be which organises Children’s Mental Health Week said: “Escaping in a good story is not only a great way to cope when you’re feeling stressed or worried, but can also be a fantastic opportunity for children to explore difficult feelings, understand them, and feels less alone.”

However, it is also about finding the right book and sometimes even having someone to read with.

Fiona Hill, services delivery specialist at Newcastle City library said: “Our libraries promote reading for pleasure, which is good for health and wellbeing, and helping young people grow into productive adults. The books in the collection are a mixture of non-fiction, fiction, and diaries with characters that the children can identify with. They are great for shared reading with family and siblings”.

Raychel Johnson, a trainee educational psychologist, backs up how important shared reading is: “It benefits children in a variety of ways. When you read with children you can make reading really exciting and keep them engaged with the story. It can affect mental health negatively if children are unable to read words and they’ll become frustrated. This can affect their self-esteem and self-efficacy, and how they perceive themselves as a reader. So, it’s important to read with children from a very young age.”

Children’s Mental Health week runs from the February 3 – 9 2020 and the books from the Reading Well Collection will be available at all city libraries. Unless someone has already taken them out!

For more information, go to the Newcastle Libraries website.

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