Prose not Prozac? The role of book prescription schemes and healthy reading schemes in the treatment of mental illness in Ireland

Patricia Neville*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Book prescription schemes and healthy reading schemes are public mental health initiatives that are inspired by the bibliotherapeutic principle of 'the guided use of reading, always with a therapeutic outcome in mind' (Katz & Watz, 1992). These initiatives were originally developed in the UK as an example of care in the community for the treatment of mild to moderate mental health problems. This involves the creation of a collection of self-help books in a local library which members of the public can access free of charge to help with their recovery from mental illness. Ireland's first Book Prescription Scheme was established in Dublin City in 2007. This article presents a critical assessment of the contribution that these reading schemes offer the treatment of mental illness in Ireland. While advocates commend this new service, a critical discourse analysis of Irish self-help reading schemes reveals that offering guided reading for the treatment of mental illness provides an individualistic and neo-liberal construction of mental illness and well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-36
Number of pages18
JournalHealth Sociology Review
Volume22
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

Keywords

  • critical discourse analysis
  • institutionalisation
  • bibliotherapy
  • book prescription schemes
  • healthy reading schemes
  • Irish mental health services
  • SELF-HELP BOOKS
  • REPUBLIC-OF-IRELAND
  • PRIMARY-CARE
  • BIBLIOTHERAPY
  • DEPRESSION
  • LITERACY
  • SERVICES
  • BELIEFS
  • CULTURE
  • ACCESS

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