The WellSouth scheme, which started in Wanaka in 2011 and had since spread throughout Otago and Southland, had been updated with an expanded range of books and also had a new tagline of ‘‘Books on Prescription: Read Yourself Well’’, Mrs O’Connor said.
The programme — in which health professionals prescribe selected self-help books, available at libraries, to people for common health problems — was evaluated last year and found to be serving the community well, she said.
‘‘There is growing evidence that reading high-quality selfhelp books can help people understand, manage and improve their health, and readers in Otago and Southland really appear to be helping themselves . . . the results [of the evaluation] showed that the recommended self-help books had been taken out over 2000 times from 2011 to September 2014, with the most popular books being issued hundreds of times each.’’
The new books available included updated mental health books, and new categories such as diabetes, heart disease, and lifestyle choices, such as diet and breastfeeding, Mrs O’Connor said.
More picture books and books with simpler language had been added, as well as some ‘‘mood-boosting’’ creative fiction which had been reviewed by health professionals.
Audios, apps and other multimedia items had also been added, Mrs O’Connor said.
She said the most popular book in the collection was John Kirwan’s All Blacks Don’t Cry.
Mr Kirwan has endorsed the scheme.
He said he was ‘‘really pleased’’ to support Books on Prescription, ‘‘which is helping communities get through the tough times’’.
It was ‘‘too easy’’ to become weighed down by stress or poor health. ’ – For more information go to www.booksonprescription.co.nz