Turn the Page launched in South Taranaki

Turn the Page launched in South Taranaki

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pictured: (L-R) Midlands Health Network community relationship manager Andrew Brock, Like Minds Taranaki manager Gordon Hudson, South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop (seated), Tom Gibson from local mental health group, Southcare general manager Kevin Simpson and South Taranaki District Council Libraries and Cultural Services manager Lynne Walker (seated) at the launch at Hawera LibraryPlus.

People in South Taranaki now have access to an exciting new wellness initiative called ‘Turn the Page’ after it was launched in Hawera LibraryPlus this morning.

South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop, Midlands Health Network community relationship manager Andrew Brock and Like Minds Taranaki manager Gordon Hudson were all there to launch this UK inspired initiative.

Turn the Page links people who have mild to moderate mental health issues to a set of self-help books recommended by psychologists and counsellors. GPs ‘prescribe’ books to their patients, which can then be borrowed from any LibraryPlus.

South Taranaki Libraries manager Lynne Walker says borrowing one of the books is no different to any other library book.

“You can hand the Turn the Page prescription to the librarian, or you can find the books using the online catalogue in the libraries and looking on the shelves which provides extra privacy.  If the books are not available at that time they can be reserved” she says.

The booklist currently covers eight different areas of mental health including depression, anxiety, stress and grief. It will be expanded over time.

The full Turn the Page booklist can be downloaded directly here, though people are strongly encouraged to discuss any concerns they have about their well-being with their GP or preferred health professional.

The Libraries and Midlands Health Network joined forces earlier this year to pilot the programme.  It has since been refined to make it as user-friendly as possible for patients, GPs and librarians.

Andrew Brock, Community Relationship Manager for Midlands Health Network says the idea for the programme was inspired by the success of a similar service in the United Kingdom.

Like Minds Taranaki are also supporting the initiative, Manager Gordon Hudson says Turn the Page lets patients learn more about their mental health situation in their own time, at their own convenience, and they can use this information to better manage their recovery and ongoing wellness.”

"The service will be valuable for family members of people experiencing mental illness because they too can read the books and have a greater understanding of what’s happening,” says Gordon.

“Statistics show that 46 per cent of the population will experience mental illness at some time in their lives. Only two out of three people will seek professional help because the stigma and discrimination of having a mental illness is seen as worse than having a mental illness itself. Unfortunately, too many who don’t seek support and help tend to be men,” Gordon says.

The programme was initially launched at Puke Ariki in New Plymouth and is now going Taranaki-wide.

Andrew Brock, Community Relationship Manager for Midlands Health Network says patients are responding well to Turn the Page.

“One mother took her teenage son to see a GP because he was feeling down.  At his appointment he was given a Turn the Page prescription. His mother said they both learnt a lot through reading some of the information together,” he says.

“Another patient told us reading books saved him.  He has suffered Bi-polar disorder for many years, was at rock bottom. His brother reached out to him and recommended reading to fill in his day.  He told us the books have left no room for negative thoughts.” 

Andrew says Turn the Page is been extended to all the libraries in Taranaki – and possibly further.

Find out more about Turn the Page here