Doctors prescribe books

PUBLISHED: 01:50 25 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:31 24 May 2010

DOCTORS in Axbridge may send you to the library with a prescription instead of the chemist under revolutionary new plans. People who visit some GPs, counsellors or mental health practitioners in Somerset now have the option of being prescribed self-help b

DOCTORS in Axbridge may send you to the library with a prescription instead of the chemist under revolutionary new plans.People who visit some GPs, counsellors or mental health practitioners in Somerset now have the option of being prescribed self-help books from their library as well as medication and counselling. The scheme has been introduced by Somerset County Council and doctors in Axbridge have been some of the first to sign up. Councillor Justin Robinson, who is responsible for adult and community services, said: "Self-help books have few side effects and invite the patient to empower themselves through reading and learning."One of the aims is to encourage people to not only help themselves with the self-help books but also to benefit from the range of services that Somerset libraries can offer."GPs can recommend books covering a variety of topics, including depression, stress, anxiety, shyness, panic attacks, low self-esteem and weight problems. Its is hoped the books will help people to manage their moods themselves and teach coping techniques to deal with everyday stresses. Patients with moderate or mild depression or anxiety can chose the books as an alternative to counselling or medication. They can visit their GP, who may recommend a book. The patient then takes the prescription to a local library to collect the book. * Pictured: Somerset NHS' Annabelle Legg and Librarian Julian Luke with some of the books available.

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