The Reading Agency is a national charity that tackles life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. We work closely with partners to develop and deliver programmes for people of all ages and backgrounds.
To help you stay connected during this uncertain time, on this page you’ll find helpful resources and advice for looking after your health and wellbeing from Reading Well and our partner organisations.
Reading Well supports people to understand and manage their health and wellbeing using helpful reading. The books are all recommended and endorsed by health experts, as well as by people with living with the conditions and topics covered and their relatives and carers. Books can be recommended by a health professional, or users can self-refer and borrow the books from the library like they would any other library book.
There are currently five Reading Well booklists for adults, young people and children, available to browse on our Books page. All five lists are available in English public libraries, and two of of these booklists are currently available in Welsh public libraries.
The titles provide helpful information and support for managing common health conditions, and dealing with difficult feelings and experiences. Some books also include personal stories from people who are living with or caring for someone with health needs.
Many of the books are also available as e-books and audiobooks. These can be downloaded through apps such as Libby, Overdrive or Borrowbox – just download the app/s and sign up with your local library card.
Visit your local library website to search their online catalogue and find other digital resources available in your area.
You can also buy the books from Hive.co.uk to support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no additional cost to you.
Reading Well titles that may be particularly useful at this time include:
- Something Bad Happened: A Kid’s Guide to Coping with Events in the News provides comfort, support and action plans for children learning about troubling world events. You can also read advice from author Dawn Huebner PhD on how to talk to children about COVID-19 on the Jessica Kingsley Publishers website. You can also head over to YouTube to hear Dawn’s tips for having meaningful conversations with your child about new or worrisome events.
- Overcoming Health Anxiety and Breaking Free from OCD. This is a particularly difficult time for those who already experience health anxiety and OCD. These titles provide advice and support for dealing with feelings of worry around health and managing intrusive thoughts. See also OCD Action’s advice on managing OCD during Covid-19.
- The Reading Well for long term conditions booklist provides practical support and advice for managing a variety of long term conditions such as asthma, COPD and chronic pain, including the impact they can have on mental health. It also has resources for anyone in a caring role for someone with health needs.
We know through our research that stories are a powerful source of comfort, solace and escapism. Our Mood-boosting Books provide lists of uplifting titles, including novels, poetry and non-fiction, all recommended by readers and reading groups. Many of these are also available as e-books and audiobooks.
At Reading Well, we work with a host of leading health experts and organisations to ensure that our booklists provide quality assured, expert endorsed health information. Many of our partner organisations and other national health organisations have created resources to help people look after their health and wellbeing at this uncertain time. Follow the links below to find out more.
- Alzheimer’s Society – Information on Covid-19 for people affected by dementia
- Anna Freud Centre – mental health support and resources for for young people, parents & carers, and schools & colleges
- Beat Eating Disorders – guidance for managing eating disorders during Covid-19, including meal planning and support for carers
- British Heart Foundation – Information on Covid-19 for people living with heart or circulatory disease
- Carers UK – Information about support available for carers during the Covid-19 outbreak
- Cruse Bereavement Care – Bereavement support for those who may have lost loved ones due to the virus
- Diabetes UK – Guidance for people living with diabetes and their families, including advice on managing stress
- Every Mind Matters – mental health guidance from NHS England
- Mental Health and Money Advice – advice for understanding, managing & improving your mental health and money issues during the Covid-19 outbreak
- Mental Health Foundation – advice on looking after your mental health during the Covid-19 outbreak
- Mind – advice on looking after your mental health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 outbreak, including self-isolation guidance and signposting to housing support
- The Mix – mental health support for young people, including moderated online discussion boards for young people to discuss their concerns around Covid-19
- OCD Action – practical advice on managing OCD during the Covid-19 outbreak
- The Patient’s Association Self-Management leaflet – A guide to learning more about self-management, its potential benefits, and how to start.
- Rethink Mental Illness – further guidance on looking after your mental health during the outbreak
- RNIB – talking books and other reading services for blind and partially sighted people. Also provides specific advice on Covid-19 for those with sight loss.
- Shout Crisis Text Service – free 24/7 textline support for those feeling in crisis. Please text SHOUT to 85258.
- Young Minds – mental health support for young people during the Covid-19 outbreak, including self-isolation advice
Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK is a group of volunteers supporting local community groups organising mutual aid throughout the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK. Visit the website to join your local group and find out more about help available for those in need in your local area.
- Let us know what you thought of your Reading Well book on our feedback page.
- For more tips and resources from across The Reading Agency programmes, read our Stay Connected toolkit.
- If you are a partner organisation, such as a library or publisher, we would love to know how we can support you. We encourage you to get in contact with us so we can help disseminate your messaging around remote events, online resources and any innovative, virtual activity that you have planned. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or message or tag us on one of our social platforms. For queries relating specifically to Reading Well please email email@example.com.