The Wellbeing collection is a selection of books, eBooks and audiobooks 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. This page features events, book reviews, new in titles, and collection FAQs (such as how we select the books).
Your health and wellbeing over winter
The Knowledge and Library Services have a range of books which can help aid your health and wellbeing over winter, a time which you may be finding more challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic; whether you are feeling lonely, struggling to sleep or feel anxious, we have titles which may be able to help. These can be explored by topic in our Wellbeing collection book lists viewed in the Wellbeing collection question and answers.
Additionally, we have posts on:
sleep – tips and tricks on how to sleep better.
loneliness – support to deal with loneliness, as well as humour and distractions.
resilience – spotlight on Ollie Ollerton’s book Battle Ready: eliminate doubt, embrace courage, transform your life.
nature therapy – nature can benefit your mental and physical health in a multitude of ways.
dealing with change – resources for managing change, both personally and professionally.
light relief, such as our favourite books, films and podcasts.
The following websites and charities also have information which may be helpful to you…
if you want information on looking after mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
Mental Health Foundation’s COVID-19 Resources
which includes information on Facing a winter during the Coronavirus pandemic and Celebrating festivals and occasions during the COVID-19 restrictions.
and Every Mind Matters.
if you are feeling lonely
Red Cross’ Get help with loneliness
which includes their ten things to help with loneliness
MIND’s Loneliness page
Every Mind Matters What you can do if you feel lonely during the coronavirus outbreak.
if you are dealing with loss
Change, loss and bereavement on the Mental Health Foundation.
if you need to talk to someone
Contact the Samaritans.
Reviews from you
Life in Pieces: Thoughts from a year that changed us all by Dawn O’Porter
“This is a brutally open and honest account of life in lockdown from home schooling challenges to coping with grief. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and highlights that we are not alone in the difficulties and challenges of life in lockdown. A great and easy read that I would highly recommend for everyone, there will be something to take away from it for all.”
Review by Emily.
Want to read Life in Pieces? Find it as an eBook on BorrowBox.
Do you have a book that you have enjoyed or found useful from the collection? Want to share a review? Let us know! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
New in books, eBooks and audiobooks in the Wellbeing collection
New books on BorrowBox:
- The Art of Rest: How to find respite in the modern age by Claudia Hammond [eBook]
- Wintering: How I learned to flourish when life became frozen by Katherine May [eBook]
- Breath: The new science of a lost art by James Nestor [eBook]
- And Now for the Good News…to the future with love by Ruby Wax [audiobook]
New in print:
- The Financial Wellbeing Book: Creating financial peace of mind by Chris Budd
- An Introduction to Coping with Depression for Carers by Tony Frais
- Mindful Thoughts for Cyclists: Finding balance on two wheels by Nick Moore
- And Now for the Good News…to the future with love by Ruby Wax
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.
We now have Books Beyond Words, books that support people who find pictures easier to understand than words. The list of books can be found here. More about Beyond Words can be found on the Beyond Words website.
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. 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.
Yes, books within the Wellbeing collection can be viewed by topic via our curated booklists. Topic specific booklists allow you to easily browse the Wellbeing collection based on your needs, currently we have the following booklists:
- Wellbeing books collection - all titles in the Wellbeing collection
- Wellbeing collection - Books for carers
- Wellbeing collection - Books for stress, resilience and emotional intelligence
- Wellbeing collection - Grief and bereavement
- Wellbeing collection - Loneliness, anxiety and stress
- Wellbeing collection - MacMillan cancer books
- Wellbeing collection - Menopause
- Wellbeing collection - Mental health books
- Wellbeing collection - Mental Health First Aid self-help books
- Wellbeing collection - Sleep
- Wellbeing collection - Physical activity and the outdoors
- Wellbeing collection - Work life balance
- Wellbeing collection - Fiction and poetry - a selection of fiction and poetry titles held in the Wellbeing collection.
- Wellbeing collection - Narrative nonfiction - a selection of nonfiction titles (such as memoirs) held in the Wellbeing collection, as well as general interest nonfiction titles from the main library collection.
- Wellbeing collection - Work/Life balance
- Books Beyond Words - Books Beyond Words are books that support people who find pictures easier to understand than words. More about Beyond Words can be found on the Beyond Words website.
Any member of PHE staff can visit a site library and borrow a book using the self-issue kiosks. Staff based on a site without a site library, or working remotely due to COVID-19 can email email@example.com and have books posted to them whether they are currently based.
We also have a selection of eBooks and audiobooks in the collection, these are predominantly from BorrowBox, find out more about BorrowBox here.
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.
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.
If looking for information on COVID-19, Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is available online.
Bibliotherapy has been described as the provision of “…information, guidance and solace… through reading,” (McNicol & Brewster, 2018, p.xiii). It "...is a form of therapeutic interaction with either fiction and poetry (imaginative literature) or self-help informational texts,” (Brewster, Sen & Cox, 2012, p.185).
There are two main types of bibliotherapy, there is creative bibliotherapy which is “the use of fiction, poetry, biographical writing and creative writing to improve health and wellbeing.” (Brewster, 2009, p.13). Creative bibliotherapy, encompasses reading groups and “the social discussion of texts”. And there is self-help bibliotherapy which has been defined as “the prescription of non-fiction, advisory books about metal health or physical conditions;” however, it can also be a users own “quest for self-education and understanding” on these topics.
There a large body of evidence around bibliotherapy, especially self-help bibliotherapy (an example is its use for depression) – from both medical and psychology research but also library and information research.
The wellbeing collection at PHE is predominantly self-help bibliotherapy.
For our 2020 Virtual Book Festival two members of the Knowledge and Library Services team discussed how reading has helped their mental health and their experiences of reading during COVID-19. Also explored is the evidence on how reading and bibliotherapy can improve your health and wellbeing. This can be read here.
Brewster, L., Sen, B., & Cox, A. (2012). Legitimising bibliotherapy: evidence‐based discourses in healthcare. Journal of Documentation, 68(2), 185-205. https://doi.org/10.1108/00220411211209186
Brewster, L. (2009). Reader development and mental wellbeing: The accidental bibliotherapist. Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services, 22(1), 13-16.
McNicol, S., & Brewster, L. (Eds.). (2018). Bibliotherapy. London: Facet Publishing.
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.