There are many free resources available, especially books and computer-based tools, which help people work through their issues and come up with strategies to help improve their wellbeing.
Kent & Medway Libraries' 'Books Can Help Scheme'
Mental health professionals and GPs have put together a list of books and self-help materials which have proved to be very effective in helping people to manage or overcome their difficulties. These books are available for loan from your local Kent & Medway libraries. Joining the library is free.
Your GP or mental health professional may provide you with a referral form which indicates which books might be helpful to you. You can take this form into your local library to borrow the recommended books.
If the book is not immediately available locally, the library will obtain it from another library free of charge. You can borrow a book for up to six weeks.
You can find out more about each of the recommended books by going to the Kent Libraries online catalogue and the Medway Libraries catalogue
More information about what resources are available at Medway libraries is available on their healthy living webpage
Both Kent and Medway library authorities belong to a consortium of libraries in the south east called SELMS (South East Library Management Services). If you are a member of one, you can borrow the bookes from both authorities. Ask at your local library for more details.
Signpost UK reading list
Ask at your local library for more information about books that may help you with your mental wellbeing.
Kent Library Finder
Medway Library Finder
Computer-aided CBT (CCBT)
Computerised self-help programmes are now available which provide cognitive behavioural therapy online or to download onto a computer. Some people find that they prefer using a computer rather than talking to a therapist about their private feelings, or they use the software as an introduction to undertaking face-to-face therapy.
Some people find the programmes are more effective if they work through them with the support of a friend or mental health professional.
Research has shown that computerised cognitive behavioural therapy or computer-aided cognitive behavioural therapy (sometimes known as CCBT) can help some people as much as face-to-face therapy. It has been shown to help people with:
- anxiety and panic disorders
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- phobias (eg agoraphobia, social phobia, specific phobia)
- post traumatic stress disorder.
You can use computers free of charge at libraries across Kent.
Kent Library Finder
Medway Library Finder
Online self-help programmes are not a substitute for seeking diagnosis and treatment from a qualified person. Consider speaking to your GP or a mental health professional if you are experiencing symptoms related to depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. If you are unsure, call the Mental Health Matters Helpline on 0800 107 0160.
There are three programmes available online free of charge. All of them keep your information confidential.
Living Life to the Full
Living Life to the Full is for:
- anyone wanting to learn new life skills
- anyone who at times feels fed up or low, or tense and anxious
- people who are dissatisfied with how they are and how they live their life
- people who want to improve their quality of life
- people wanting to learn how to sleep better
- people wanting to learn how to relax
- people who sometimes take tablet medication.
There is more in our Recovery section about Living Life to the Full.
e-couch provides information about emotional problems - what causes them, how to prevent them and how to treat them. It includes exercises to help you understand yourself and others better. It also provides you with a set of strategies that might help you to improve your life.
It includes information, exercises and a workbook to track your progress and record your experiences, and toolkits to help you improve your mood and emotional state, and tackle challenges that you may be facing.
The programme was designed and developed by staff at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University, in collaboration with other researchers, mental health experts, web and graphic designers, and software engineers.
MoodGYM is an interactive web programme designed to prevent depression. It consists of five modules, an interactive game, anxiety and depression assessments, downloadable relaxation audio, a workbook and feedback assessment.
Using flashed diagrams and online exercises, MoodGYM teaches the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). It also demonstrates the relationship between thoughts and emotions, and works through dealing with stress and relationship break-ups, as well as teaching relaxation and meditation techniques.
MoodGYM was designed and developed by staff at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University, in collaboration with other researchers, mental health experts, web and graphic designers, and software engineers.
Programmes to buy
Beating the Blues
Beating the Blues works by helping you to understand depression and anxiety and then provides you with ways to better manage your condition. The programme uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques and is made up of eight weekly sessions, each session takes about 50 minutes to complete.
This programme was jointly designed and developed by Dr Judy Proudfoot and her team at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London and Ultrasis plc.
It has been recommended for use in the NHS by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). NICE is the organisation responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.
You can buy Beating the Blues directly for £325.
Blues Begone is a computerised self-help programme which provides a treatment for depression and anxiety. It works by helping you change the way the you think and feel about things, using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
You use it as an interactive programme that talks to you, learns about you and creates a unique treatment package that is tailored to your specific needs. Blues Begone was created by two brothers, Dr David Purves and Dr Byron Purves. David is a both a practising psychologist and academic in the UK, running his own clinic and Byron is a systems and software specialist in the USA. The package is used in some NHS services and GP surgeries. It costs £110 and can be purchased through the Blues Begone website.