Southend libraries help support mental wellbeing through the power of reading

Mick Ferris

A new campaign is set to launch in Southend libraries which looks to tackle loneliness and support mental health during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the town’s recovery.

The ‘Read, Talk, Share’ campaign will see every library in Southend provided with books from the Reading Well collections to support mental health for children, young people, and adults. There are also e-books and e-audio books available to read and listen to online through the library’s digital service, BorrowBox.

Championed by authors Amanda Prowse and Natasha Devon, along with Girls Aloud singer Nicola Roberts, the ‘Read, Talk, Share’ initiative aims to demonstrate the power of reading to support and connect isolated individuals, and the benefits of reading for mental health.

Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, said: “People often underestimate the power of books. They give readers an opportunity to take their mind off what has been an extremely challenging year, and the ‘Read, Talk, Share’ campaign provides essential reading for all ages.

“I urge anyone who may have struggled emotionally over the past year or so to consider reading the books, which have been expertly chosen to help those suffering with their health and wellbeing.”

The three booklists rolled out as part of ‘Read, Talk, Share’ support mental health and wellbeing across all age groups. The books are chosen by health experts and people living with mental health conditions, along with the help of children and families for the children’s booklist:

These books support people to understand and manage their health and wellbeing. Residents can borrow the books online through the libraries click and collect service

Alternatively, books can be read online with the BorrowBox app – which is free for library members, simply by using your library card number. More information about the Reading Well scheme and these titles is available from

For more information on Southend libraries, including opening times, please visit

Mick Ferris

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