Awen Cultural Trust is marking this year’s World Mental Health Day on Monday 10th October, by joining with The Reading Agency and Libraries Connected to launch the Reading Well for Teens scheme across its libraries in Bridgend. The scheme is funded by Welsh Government and Arts Council England.

The Reading Well for Teens collection of books is aimed at supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people, providing them with information, advice and support so they can better understand their feelings and handle difficult experiences. The booklist, which includes titles that have been translated into Welsh, offer a wide range of reading levels and formats to help less confident readers and encourage engagement.

Targeted at teenagers aged between 13 and 18 years, the books have been carefully selected by a panel of accredited organisations and professionals including the creator of Book Prescription Wales, NHS England, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of GPs, British Psychological Society, Royal College of Nursing and British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Leading mental health charities were also represented.

Books can be borrowed or reserved by calling into any of the Awen-run libraries or ordered via the online catalogue on Non-members can also join the library service immediately, confidentially and for free, through the website.

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, the registered charity which manages the library and home delivery service on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Council, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting another Reading Well initiative within our libraries by making a good supply of these books for teenagers available to borrow or download online. We know that the past couple of years have been particularly challenging for this age group, so there has never been a more appropriate time to increase our offer of quality-assured support to teenagers, so they can understand and manage their own mental health and wellbeing.”

Reading Well for Teens is the fourth Reading Well scheme to be delivered in Wales, following the successful rollout of Reading Well for Mental Health, Reading Well for Dementia and Reading Well for Children.

Councillor Huw David, Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, said: “We are very pleased that our partnership with Awen is supporting the Reading Well for Teens initiative and it’s really fitting that the scheme will launch on World Mental Health Day.

“It’s great that the carefully select reading list will support existing services and be available in local libraries, which offer welcoming and calming spaces for young people.

“It’s crucial that we continue to offer teenagers as much support as possible with regards to their mental health and it’s proven that reading can offer many significant benefits to their overall wellbeing.”