MONCTON (GNB) - New Brunswick Public Library card holders now have access to therapeutic and self-help books, thanks to a partnership with the Horizon Health Network.

“Your government strongly supports efforts made to help improve access to mental health services in New Brunswick,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “The Healing Books project is a very positive step in helping ensure people have access to materials and information about various topics related to mental health.”

Rogers spoke on behalf of Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage.

The Healing Books project is a bibliotherapy program founded by a Horizon client with lived experience and supported by the health authority’s Addictions and Mental Health team. The client was inspired to create the project because of the support and hope she found in reading self-help and therapeutic books while in treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The program has been delivered in collaboration with the New Brunswick Public Library Service and with the support of MindCare NB.

The project consists of more than 1,300 books. Titles touch on 35 different mental health topics for children, adolescents, and adults. The collection also has resources for supporters of people who face mental health and addictions challenges.

“We are so proud to deliver an initiative that will serve New Brunswick residents and caregivers who are looking for information about depression, anxiety, and stress and/or other mental health or addictions challenges,” said vice-president Jean Daigle. “Working with our patients, clients, families and communities to create and sustain quality and safe care is Horizon’s top priority, and this project illustrates how working with clients who use the health-care system can improve the health-care system.”

All New Brunswick residents with a Public Libraries card will have free access to English and French books, eBooks, and audiobooks, as well as resources for those with print disabilities.

Books in the project are identifiable by a butterfly icon, which appears on the item’s online catalogue record, as well as inside the books. The books are also part of a space within the online catalogue called the Mental Health “room.”

The books will be available through all 63 public libraries in the province, through the provincial online catalogue and through library services by mail.

The project was made possible thanks to a $25,000 grant from MindCare NB, a committee of the board of directors within the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation that funds programs across the province that promote mental wellness and provide services to those living with mental illness. The grant was used to purchase print books.

“MindCare NB is very proud to have supported the Healing Books Project,” said Jeff McAloon, president and CEO. “Supporting New Brunswickers who are dealing with mental health and addiction issues is our core mandate.”

Ebooks and audiobooks in the project were purchased through other means, including support from the New Brunswick Public Libraries Foundation.