A new selection of self-help books available in libraries has been drawn up amid evidence they can help people with mild and moderate depression, anxiety, panic and eating disorders.
Studies have demonstrated that the best books can produce results comparable to those of drug therapy or psychotherapy.
They can be highly effective when used as the main source of help or alongside prescribed medication or counselling.
A joint initiative between the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) and Dublin City Council's library service, the 'Power of Words' brochure is a list of 97 books that have been read, reviewed and recommended by a group of psychologists and GPs.
GPs and other professionals working in mental health, such as counsellors, nurses and psychologists, can recommend a high-quality self-help book from this list to patients with mild to moderate psychological problems.
Members of the public can also access the list and 150-word book reviews directly from the HSE website www.hse.ie and Dublin city libraries website.
In order to make it easy for patients and members of the public to access the books, copies are freely available to borrow from public libraries around the country.
Elaine Martin, a HSE senior psychologist said: "Bibliotherapy gives people more choice in their approach to treating common psychological problems."
City librarian Margaret Hayes said that to complement the launch of the collection a programme of free workshops called 'Mind Yourself' would run in libraries over the next two months: "The programme will include talks, workshops and classes aimed at encouraging us to take time for ourselves, maybe try something new and achieve a deeper sense of wellbeing," she said.