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Children’s Books Ireland launches mental health reading guide

Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 05/10/2020. Children’s Books Ireland launches mental health reading guideTags: Parenting Health And Well Being

The Covid-19 pandemic is a considerable source of worry for children and families, and young people are having to cope with big changes at home and at school. In response, Children’s Books Ireland, in partnership with Jigsaw and ISPCC Childline, is launching Mind Yourself – the Mental Health and Wellbeing Reading Guide on Monday October 5th.
October 10th is World Mental Health Day – an international event that promotes mental health education and awareness. A recent UNICEF report found that children and young people in Ireland are struggling with their mental health, with Ireland placing 26th in the survey of 38 OECD countries when it comes to the mental wellbeing of children. Books can provide comfort to readers during a difficult time and there is robust evidence to support this: reading for pleasure can have a positive effect on mental wellbeing, can build empathy in children and young people and is positively linked to better outcomes in later life.
The Mind Yourself reading guide is a resource that can be used by adults – parents, guardians, caregivers, teachers – to support and educate young people in relation to mental health and wellbeing. The guide contains reviews and recommendations of over 400 books for children and young people from birth to age eighteen and is designed as a ‘first-aid kit’ for worries, sadness, loneliness, anxiety and any number of feelings that a young person may want to explore. Mind Yourself also contains mental health and wellbeing information from Jigsaw and ISPCC Childline, including tips and coping strategies for young people and advice for adults on supporting children to build resilience.

Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, said:
Mind Yourself was born in a pandemic and is published during an unprecedented time as children and young people return to school following a period of isolation. We want to recognise the very valid feelings that may arise during this time and to provide support for adults who may need a way to start a difficult conversation with a younger person, perhaps by reading a story aloud with them, by leaving a book on their bed with a note or by giving them this guide with a book token to find their own way through it. As always, we want our guides to enable children and young people – with the help of a family member, carer, teacher or librarian – to find the right book for them at a particular time, and if they’re struggling, to tóg sos le scéal or lighten the load with a book.
Dr Joseph Duffy, CEO of Jigsaw, said:
In Jigsaw we offer a listening ear, give expert mental health advice and support to young people, parents and guardians, and schoolteachers – and do our best to be there when young people need us most. But we know that there is always so much more that can be done. More young people we can reach. And to do so we need to work together as communities, as partners, and as friends. Working together with Children’s Books Ireland on Mind Yourself – The Mental Health and Wellbeing Reading Guide is another creative way of doing this, of reaching and being there to support the mental health needs of even more young people across Ireland. We know from our Read Your Mind project the power of reading as therapy in supporting mental health and wellbeing. The power of stories and words in helping guide and support both adults and young people. So, we are really excited to be part of this fantastic project.
Caroline O’Sullivan, Director of Services for ISPCC Childline, said:
ISPCC Childline is delighted to be included in Children’s Books Ireland’s Mind Yourself – The Mental Health and Wellbeing Reading Guide and to provide guidance for children, young people and parents/carers on building resilience and looking after their mental health,’ said. ‘Reading is an important activity for children and young people, it can provide an escape and allows our minds to be creative which can help in boosting our moods. Childline receives over 1,000 contacts a day every day from children and young people across Ireland on and our volunteers help make sure every child and young person in Ireland always has somewhere they can turn.

The books recommended in Mind Yourself – The Mental Health and Wellbeing Reading Guide cover the following issues:

  • Understanding feelings and emotions
  • Worry, stress and anxiety
  • Fears and phobias
  • Grief and loss
  • Sadness, low mood and depression
  • Relationship with self (self-esteem, loneliness, resilience, etc.)
  • Relationships with others
  • Life-long conditions (living with chronic illness and disabilities)
  • Body image and body positivity
  • Wellbeing (mindfulness, coping strategies, etc.)

    Mind Yourself – The Mental Health and Wellbeing Reading Guide is available free of charge through every library authority in the Republic of Ireland. A digital version can be viewed or downloaded on 

    About Children’s Books Ireland:
    Children’s Books Ireland’s vision is an Ireland in which books are central to every child’s life and where meaningful engagement with books is supported by passionate and informed adults in families, schools, libraries and communities across Ireland. Children’s Books Ireland is a charity that supports artists, provides high quality information and recommendations to adults who influence children’s reading, and advocates for equal access to the joy of reading for all children, regardless of their circumstances. Children’s Books Ireland is the go-to organisation for coverage of children’s books across various media including Ireland AM, InTouch magazine and RTÉjr.
    About Jigsaw:
    At Jigsaw we understand how mental health can affect a young person’s life. We offer a listening ear and give expert advice and support to young people aged 12–25 years-old. We give families, teachers, and those who support young people’s mental health ways to cope and the skills to be there for young people. Find out more about how we can help you at  
    About ISPCC Childline:
    Childline is Ireland’s 24-hour national listening service for all children and young people (under the age of 18) in Ireland. It is private, confidential and non-judgemental and can be contacted for free from anywhere in Ireland.


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