Wellbeing Collection

This is a collection of books, aimed at ALL staff employed by PHE, or who are working in PHE locations. The books are chosen with the aim of supporting your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing.


Your mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak

Events, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, can have impact on your mental health and wellbeing.  

We have a range of books which be able to help you; on mental health topics, managing stress, or even titles which will help you get lost in feel-good fiction or a real-life story.

The wellbeing collection is still available to staff working in Chilton and Colindale, and books can be loaned using the self-issue kiosks.

There is also a lot of helpful information available online:

Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)

10 tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus – Every Mind Matters

Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak – Mental Health Foundation

Coronavirus: How to protect your mental health – BBC News

Coronavirus and your wellbeing – MIND

Coping Calendar – Action for Happiness

FACE COVID is a short video about how you can deal with corona virus fear, anxiety and worry using Acceptance Commitment Therapy techniques. 


What books are there?

We have a variety of books covering a number of topics. The range contains books on understanding dementia, help with caring for loved ones, books on coping with cancer, or many other diseases and long-term conditions. Books can be memoirs or sharing experiences, self-help, authoritative advice, or just a really good, uplifting story.

A full list of all the books is on the library catalogue.


Spotlight on

Notes on a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig

“Feeling anxious and overwhelmed by modern life? Notes on a Nervous Planet explores some of the reasons why the internet and our phones may be contributing to our feelings of anxiety. Matt Haig uses humour and his personal experiences with anxiety and depression to suggest ways to be more mindful and happier in our daily lives. The writing is accessible and if you feel that you just don’t have time to read it is any easy book to dip into and find some guidance to a better way of living.”

Recommended by Helen.


Do you have a book that you have enjoyed or found useful from the collection? Want to share a review? Let us know! Email: libraries@phe.gov.uk

New books in the collection: 


National Stress Awareness Month – April 2020

National Stress Awareness month aims to increase awareness about the causes and cures for stress.
Did you know, in 2018 a Mental Health Foundation study, 74% of people reported to have felt so stressed they had been overwhelmed or unable to cope?
Stress can have a significant impact on both your physical and mental health. 

The wellbeing collection has a range of titles which can help you manage your stress; with self-help books on stress management, anxiety, resilience and emotional intelligence (a full list of stress related books are available here), and entertaining fiction, poetry and non-fiction.
For more information on National Stress Awareness Month visit the Stress Management Society website.

For more information on managing stress, visit: 
Every Mind Matters Feeling stressed? page
Mind’s advice on How to manage stress


How do we choose the books?

Be reassured, we provide quality information!

The core of the collection is made up from the Reading Agency’s Reading Well lists:

  • Books on Prescription, including Reading Well for mental health, Reading Well for dementia, and Reading Well for long term conditions.
  • Mood Boosting Books – we have used the 2016 and the 2018 lists of books chosen and voted for by reading groups across the country. A full list of the Mood Boosting books within the collection can be found here

and the MacMillan Cancer Support core books list (May 2019). The Knowledge and Library Services hold a selection of books from the MacMillan list, which can be viewed on the library catalogue. A full web Directory of Information Materials for People Affected by Cancer can be found online here: http://publications.macmillan.org.uk/

Titles on all these lists are books which have been selected by health professionals, people living with the conditions, and their relatives and carers. 

However, we also like to hear from you!
Through your recommendations the collection has grown to include books on topics such as resilience, stress or health conditions which are not covered in the lists. We like to know what has helped you, so please let us know if you have any recommendations to add to the collection whether that be a single book or a topic area you feel is missing.
Knowledge and Library Services’ staff have also identified topics for inclusion and expanded the collection.


How can I get them?

Any member of PHE staff can visit a site library and borrow a book. Staff based on a site without a site library can email libraries@phe.gov.uk and have books posted to them.


Do we have any books on mental health? 

The wellbeing collection contains a selection of titles on mental health and wellbeing topics. A list of all our current mental health titles is available here. This includes self-help books (including CBT techniques), memoirs and books on mindfulness and sleep.

Do you have books for parents to use with their children?

The Reading Agency has compiled a list of Books on Prescription resources for Young People’s Mental Health. There is also additional books listed in the Healthy Ireland book collection, which cover topics for parenting, children and young adults. The Knowledge and Library Services’ do not hold a majority of these titles, however, they can be found in your local public library. You can find your nearest local public library here.



We understand that borrowing books on personal issues can sometimes be embarrassing, and that it might imply personal information about you that you do not want disclosed. Please be reassured that we are librarians who stick to our professional code of conduct and also abide by GDPR. We are proud of this collection and we want it to work for you.

In the site libraries there are self-issue kiosks. The first time you use a kiosk you may need contact with a librarian to set up your log-in and password – after that you can borrow and return books pretty much anonymously!


More than books…

Whilst we love books, other resources are available for PHE staff to support your wellbeing. Please visit the My Wellbeing page on the intranet.



Resources and organisations referenced on this page are intended as a useful guide for information purposes only. Inclusion or exclusion of resources does therefore not signify that the Knowledge or Library Services endorses or does not endorse the activities of a particular organisation. The Knowledge and Library Services is not responsible for the information or services provided by external organisations. 


Last updated: 30/03/2020

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