A new collection of vetted self-help books for young people has just been announced by the Books on Prescription programme.

The new youth book list follows on from of a list of self-guided therapy books, podcasts and apps for adults created and promoted by the programme that is run by the Well South Primary Health Network.

Sarah Chisnall, health promotion specialist at WellSouth, says the new list aims to help meet the need for doctors, nurses, counsellors and others who may be struggling to find credible and trustworthy health information for young people facing issues affecting their mental wellbeing.

She said the youth collection includes books written for different age ranges, acknowledging the developmental stages of young people from primary through to secondary school age and beyond.

“We wanted this collection to include titles that are accessible, meaningful and useful for our young people, and their whānau.”

Like the original adult collection the books have been reviewed by mental health practitioners and relate to a range of mental health topics including anxiety, worry, depression, grief, resilience, mindfulness and obsessive compulsive disorder.

The WellSouth scheme began in 2011 in Central Otago and is now run in conjunction with all the libraries of Otago and Southland (including public, university and prison libraries) through which local people can access the Books on Prescription books for free.

Summaries for each new youth title, along with reviews by both health professionals and consumers, can be found on the young people section of the Book on Prescription website.

The website also includes the vetted lists of resources for adults that are divided up into ‘read yourself well’ section of books, the ‘listen yourself well’ list (which includes audio books and podcasts) and the ‘T’app yourself well’ list of reviewed smartphone apps. Topics for adults include not only mental health but also diabetes, heart disease and lifestyle.

It is based on a similar scheme founded in the UK in 2004.


Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW), runs from 8–14 October 2018. This year’s theme is ‘Let nature in, strengthen your wellbeing – Mā te taiao kia whakapakari tōu oranga’.

Where to get help:

If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

Or if you need to talk to someone else:

Asian Helpline – 0800 862 342
Lifeline – 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Youthline – 0800 376 633 or free text 234
Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (for under 18s)
What’s Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18-year-olds 1pm–10pm weekdays and 3pm–10pm weekends)
Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
OUTLine NZ – 0800 688 5463
Healthline – 0800 611 116

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