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New reading list to support children’s mental health and literacy

A new ‘Reading Well for Children’ booklist has been launched for Children’s Mental Health Week.

Children’s Mental Health Week is coordinated by Place2Be and runs from 3-9 February with the aim of shining a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health.

This new Reading Well for children list comes from the Reading Agency and recommends reading to help children understand their feelings and worries and cope with tough times. The books have been chosen by children, carers, health experts and librarians. They are also endorsed by leading health organisations such as NHS England, Mind and the Royal College of GPs.

The books will be available from Suffolk Libraries with full sets at Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds libraries. All libraries have information available about Reading Well for children through our Books on Prescription service.

Sarah Lungley, Wellbeing Manager for Suffolk Libraries, said:

“We are thrilled to be supporting the launch of the new Reading Well for Children scheme. We are passionate about supporting early years and children’s wellbeing and this list is a fantastic resource for parents, carers and children.”

“Reading can often help people feel less alone in their experiences, thoughts and feelings. This can be invaluable and especially useful for children and young people going through a difficult time.”

According to new research from BookTrust, more than 340,000 primary school children aged 7-9 are in ‘literary poverty’ and the Mental Health Foundation suggests that 1 in 10 children and young people will be affected by mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and conduct disorder.

The booklist is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 (aged 7-11) and includes a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers and to encourage children to read together with their siblings and carers, a trend that BookTrust research suggests is in decline with one in seven parents claiming that they never read to their children before bed.

There are 44 libraries across Suffolk where parents and children can get easy and free access to books, eBooks, eAudio and more.

We also offer Open Space drop-ins, where people of all ages can discuss their wellbeing and socialize in a no-pressure environment. These drop-ins take place at libraries in Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe, Haverhill, Ipswich County, Newmarket, Stowmarket, Sudbury and Woodbridge. These are run in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Julian Support, Richmond Fellowship and Suffolk Mind.

You can find more about our New Chapters service to find out what libraries can offer for your mental health and wellbeing.