Reading for wellbeing

On this page you can find information about reading, health and well-being. The page is split into the following sections:


Reading, health and wellbeing

The cost of mental health in England is estimated to be £14 billion a year, and, additionally, mental health conditions are believed to raise the costs of physical health care by at least 45%.

  • Research suggests that regular reading is associated with a 35% reduction in the risk of dementia. It can reduce stress levels by 68%.
  • Taking part in social reading activity like reading groups can help people feel less isolated and develop mental concentration and mental agility

Centre for Economic Performance's Mental Health Policy Group, 2012
Leisure activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly, New England Journal of Medicine, 2003



Mood boosting books

Reading Well Mood-boosting Books is a national promotion of uplifting titles, including novels, poetry and non-fiction. The books have been recommended by our readers.

Reading Well Dementia Books is a collection that has been developed with health and library professionals, people with dementia and carers. The collection is available at RJAH Library Knowledge Service.

Reading Well Books on Prescription provides self-help reading for adults based on cognitive behavioural therapy for a range of common mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, phobias and some eating disorders. Titles are available from your local library. See the library website for further details at


Bibliotherapy websites:


The Reading Agency

The Reading Agency is a charity whose mission is to inspire more people to read more, encourage them to share their enjoyment of reading and celebrate the difference that reading makes to all our lives.

The Reader Organisation

The Reader is an award-winning charitable social enterprise working to connect people with great literature through shared reading. We’re here to bring books to life, creating welcoming environments in which personal feeling is recognised and valued, forming vital connections between people and literature through which everyone can feel more alive.

The Reader Organisation aims to improve self-confidence and self-esteem, build social networks, widen horizons and give people a sense of belonging. Their shared reading groups promote and provide a holistic approach to wellbeing and have provided positive impacts within the culture of partner organisations.

Their approach aligns with the ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People’ strategy for public health, the Five Ways to Wellbeing and the 2011 cross government strategy, ‘No Health Without Mental Health’ to:

  • Improve health and keep people well through early intervention and prevention strategies that tackle underlying causes: chronic loneliness, isolation and inactivity
  • Ensure the NHS, local government and third sector are working together 


ReLit is the Bibliotherapy Foundation, a charitable enterprise dedicated to the complementary treatment of stress, anxiety and other conditions through mindful reading. We believe that attentive immersion in great literature can relieve, restore and reinvigorate the human mind


Related documents

Healthy Horizons – RJAH intranet

Dementia Collection