One of the major benefits of regular reading can be improved mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that reading for just ten minutes a day can help make us feel calmer, reduce stress and improve concentration. That’s why #ReadMCR have teamed up with The Reading Agency to distribute Reading Well collections in Manchester.

Reading Well collections are books chosen to support people with mental health and wellbeing. The books are recommended by health experts as well as people with lived experience of the conditions and topics covered, and their relatives and carers.

Four people sat reading in a library.

This summer, Read Manchester distributed children’s, teen and adult collections to organisations across the city, including youth groups, community centres, Manchester Mind, The Proud Trust, pupil referral units and HMP Manchester’s library, to name a few! In each setting, the books will be kept together for readers to borrow and return as they please. This distribution was part of Read Manchester’s wider book gifting campaign, which has gifted over 76,000 books to local people since the first lockdown in 2020.

Many organisations have described a greater mental health need in communities due to societal effects of Covid 19. One group said about the young person’s collection, ‘Many of our young people struggle with their mental well-being. We were lucky enough to receive a set of the Shelf Help books a few years ago and these have been invaluable to signpost young people to, for staff to read how to support young people and also having some uplifting and informative fiction titles that address specific needs and identities has also been critical to supporting some of our young people.’

A community organisation for older people experiencing social isolation explained that their male service users would benefit from an adult collection because ‘sometimes men do not want to talk about issues, so being able to discretely read about self-help techniques would be a great benefit.’

Three people stood in a car park with a trolley full of books.

Read Manchester are thrilled to have been able to offer these collections and would like to thank The Reading Agency for the books and the local organisations for helping them get to the people who would benefit the most.

Don’t forget to #Take10 minutes a day to read for stress-busting, mental health benefits!