Reading In Mind: Book Scheme for Mental Health

If you have a mental health issue like anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or worry, reading books about the issue can help you understand and manage your mental health and wellbeing.


The Reading in Mind book scheme recommends books, eAudiobooks, eBooks or DVDs about a wide range of mental health issues. The books are selected with the advice of mental health professionals and the Mental Health Foundation of NZ.

Health providers may suggest a title from this scheme, or you can choose them from the book list yourself.  You might want to discuss the books with your health provider or librarian but this is entirely up to you.  Your family and friends can also use the scheme as it is sometimes very helpful for those closest to you to understand some of the issues that you may be dealing with and to find ways that they can help.

Books on the Reading In Mind book list have been recommended by mental health professionals and the scheme was developed by Pegasus Health, Christchurch City Libraries and The Mental Health Education and Resource Centre (MHERC) which is located at 116 Marshlands Road.  MHERC is also has a very good library which is free to use, and many of their books are included in the Reading In Mind booklists.

HealthInfo is another great resource to get information on Mental Health as well as other health issues.

Browse booklists of titles you can borrow from our libraries.



Do you ever wonder why a particular book seems to come along at just the right time?  I remember reading Armistead Maupin’s series Tales of the City at a time in my 20s when I was missing a close group of friends who had all moved away.  The friends in his books became my friends and helped fill a gap. Perhaps I was an early user of bibliotherapy?

Creative bibliotherapy utilizes imaginative literature—novels, short stories, poetry, plays, and biographies—to improve psychological well-being. Through the incorporation of carefully selected literary works, therapists can often guide people in treatment on a journey of self-discovery. This method is most beneficial when people are able to identify with a character, experience an emotional catharsis as a result of this identification, and then gain insight about their own life experiences.

9781922079350An organisation called The School of Life who are “devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture”, have produced a book called The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies.  In it you can find a book cure for every conceivable ailment from dealing with boredom – try Room by Emma Doneghue and you will never complain about boredom again –  or perhaps you have suffered abandonment and Kent Haruf’s Plainsong will show you how to reach out? There are suggestions for being in a bit of a jam – The Life of Pi by Yann Martel will show you that really you have nothing to be worried about.  There are also great book lists – the ten best novels to drown out snoring and the ten best novels for duvet days are my favourites.

If the thought of using books for therapy doesn’t interest you, then perhaps the quirky and interesting book reviews will open up new authors that might have passed you by.