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Books on Prescription

Books on Prescription is a scheme provided jointly by Bath and North East Somerset Libraries and your local Primary Care Mental Health Trust.  It aims to help people cope with common mental health problems by allowing GPs and Mental Health Practitioners to “prescribe” or recommend self-help books, which cover a wide range of difficulties.

Given the huge range of self-help books now available on the market, it can feel a bit daunting deciding what to read.  The books on our Books on Prescription scheme are constantly under review, and have been read and evaluated by healthcare professionals and have been found to be useful, effective and easy to read.

You may either borrow your chosen book from your local library or, if you prefer, buy the book from your local bookshop.

How does it work?

Visit your local library and ask to be directed to the The Books on Prescription section.

What books are available?

You can see a list of the available books by viewing the BANES library catalogues.

 Recommended Self-Help Books

Full list available on Read well.

Panic and Anxiety:

  • Overcoming Anxiety (Helen Kennerley)
    Provides an explanation of a whole range of anxieties and fears, from panic attacks and phobias to ‘burn out’ and executive stress.
  • Overcoming Anxiety, Stress and Panic: A Five Areas Approach (Chris Williams)
    Uses the proven and trusted five areas model of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help people experiencing a range of symptoms associated with anxiety, stress and panic.
  • Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (Susan Jeffers)
    Potentially helpful to a broad range of readers who are stressed through interpersonal difficulties and / or loss of confidence.
  • Overcoming Health Anxiety (David Veale and Rob Willson)
    Helps readers to better understand the nature of their problems and provides them with the skills necessary to overcome it and to regain quality of life.
  • Introduction to Coping with Health Anxiety (Brenda Hogan and Charles Young)
    Explains what health anxiety is and how it makes you feel and is ideal as an immediate coping strategy and as a preliminary to fuller therapy.
  • Overcoming Panic and Agoraphobia: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques (Derrick Silove and Vijaya Manicavasagar)
    Describes the nature and origin of panic / agoraphobia and teaches step-by-step strategies for recognising and dealing with panic.
  • Panic Attacks: What They Are, Why They Happen and What You Can Do About Them (Christine Ingham)
    Provides insight into panic attacks from a personal perspective and offers practical advice on how to help yourself and others.
  • An Introduction to Coping with Phobias (Brenda Hogan)
    Provides information on how phobias develop and what keeps them going, setting goals and starting to face your fears, and avoiding relapses and problem-solving.
  • Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness (Gillian Butler)
    Explains why social anxiety and shyness happen and sets up practical methods of resolving them.
  • The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (Martha Davis)
    Provides ways to explore your own stress triggers and symptoms, and learn how to create a personal plan for stress reduction.
  • Manage Your Stress for a Happier Life (Terry Looker and Olga Gregson)
    Helps you diagnose and manage your stress, explains the causes of your tension, and shows you all the different strategies you can use to deal with it.
  • The Worry Cure: Stop Worrying and Start Living (Robert Leahy)
    Offers practical and powerful tools to reverse your worry and transform the quality of your life.
  • How to Stop Worrying (Frank Tallis)
    Provides instructions on avoiding stress and anxiety by using problem-solving techniques and discusses ways to deal with setbacks.


  • Overcoming Depression and Low Mood: A Five Areas Approach (Chris Williams)
    Addresses all the common challenges faced during times of low mood and helps readers to make positive changes to their lives in a planned and achievable way.
  • Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think (Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky)
    A ‘hands-on’ workbook teaching cognitive behavioural techniques to combat a range of emotional problems, including depression.
  • Overcoming Depression: A Guide to Recovery with a Complete Self-Help Programme (Paul Gilbert)
    Provides information on understanding and treating depression, particularly the importance of developing compassionate ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.
  • The Feeling Good Handbook (David Burns)
    Offers practical exercises and cognitive strategies to identify and correct unhelpful thinking which is likely to have contributed to feelings of depression.

Obsessive Compulsions:

  • Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (David Veale and Rob Willson)
    Shows you how to reduce the distress caused by disturbing thoughts, images and urges, helps you face fears and troubling situations, reduces and gradually helps you overcome compulsions, and offers advice on how partners, relatives and friends can help.
  • Understanding Obsessions and Compulsions (Frank Tallis)
    The principles of anxiety reduction are explained and instructions to help you cope are given in easy-to-understand language.
  • Break Free from OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT (Fiona Challacombe, Victoria Oldfield and Paul Salkowskis)
    A practical guide that enables you to make sense of your symptoms and gives a simple plan to help you conquer OCD.

Interpersonal Matters:

  • Overcoming Anger and Irritability (William Davies)
    A self-help manual aimed at those who are constantly irritable or angry, helping sufferers understand why this occurs and how to overcome it.
  • Overcoming Relationship Problems (Michael Crowe)
    Friendly, accessible and practical, these effective step-by-step methods will help you develop and sustain a happy and mutually fulfilling relationship over the long-term.
  • Overcoming Low Self-Esteem (Melanie Fennell)
    Aids readers to understand their condition and with this knowledge, enable them to break out of the vicious circle of negative self-image, learn the art of self-acceptance and alter their lives for the better.
  • Overcoming Insomnia and Sleep Problems (Colin Espie)
    A practical description of the leading treatment for insomnia and the causes of insomnia.

Eating Disorders:

  • Overcoming Binge Eating (Christopher Fairburn)
    Provides all the information needed to understand binge eating and bring it under control.
  • Getting Better Bit(e) by Bit(e): A Survival Kit for Sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders (Ulrike Schmidt and Janet Treasure)
    Concentrates on the key behaviour changes necessary for the sufferer to achieve a happier and more fulfilled life and draws together real problems and solutions experienced by hundreds of sufferers.
  • Overcoming Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating (Peter Cooper)
    Gives a clear explanation of the disorder and the serious health issues that can result from it, describes the treatments available, and sets out a self-help guide for those who want to tackle their difficulties for themselves.

Long-Term Health Conditions:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Frankie Campling and Michael Sharpe)
    Includes information about the rehabilitative treatments available and includes a section on the management of children and young people with the disease.
  • Overcoming Chronic Fatigue (Mary Burgess and Trudie Chalder)
    Offers sufferers a better understanding of CFS as well as strategies on breaking the vicious circle of fatigue.
  • Overcoming Chronic Pain (Frances Cole, Catherine Carus, Hazel Howden-Leach and Helen Macdonald)
    Helps you understand why pain persists when there’s no injury or disease present, explains how to use drugs more effectively, and gives guidance on how to become fitter and more active.


If you would like to help us review the books in our Books on Prescription scheme or have any comments, please contact us at:

How do I join a library?

You can join a library at any age and membership is free. You will be able to use your library card at any Bath or North East Somerset library, mobile library and for access to our online resources too. Proof of address will be required. This can be your Books on Prescription form if the address has been completed by a healthcare professional, an allowance book, a bank / building society statement, a driving licence, or an official bill / invoice containing your name and current address.