Based on an evaluation of the Kirklees Bibliotherapy Project, this report discusses how bibliotherapy groups help improve mental health and social inclusion for people with severe mental health problems. The bibliotherapy groups helped improve mental health, motivation, confidence and social wellbeing. The research identified the key aspects of the bibliotherapy project that influence outcomes.

Background

This qualitative study for Kirklees Council evaluates the impact of the Kirklees bibliotherapy project, Well into Words. ‘Well into Words’ is a project based within the Kirklees Library service. Working with a variety of people in a range of different settings, the bibliotherapy service aims to support and increase positive outcomes for people with mental health and wellbeing issues using fiction and poetry. The study investigated the therapeutic effects of bibliotherapy in relation to mental health and wellbeing.

The aims of the study were to assess the impact of the bibliotherapy groups on the mental and physical health and wellbeing of participants; examine the impact of the bibliotherapy groups on facilitating social inclusion for participants; and identify the aspects of the project that influence positive outcomes.Methods

Data was collected from observation of bibliotherapy sessions and semi-structured interviews and small group discussions with bibliotherapy participants, the bibliotherapists and the healthcare staff involved in the observed sessions.Findings

The bibliotherapy groups helped improve mental health, motivation, confidence and social wellbeing. The project is successful in promoting social inclusion for people with mental health problems. The research identified five key aspects of the bibliotherapy project that influence outcomes: the literature, facilitator skills and qualities, partnership working and staff engagement, the environment, and the group atmosphere and dynamics.Report

Morral, K. (2016) Well into Words: An Evaluation of the Kirklees Bibliotherapy Project. Huddersfield: Qualitas Research and Kirklees Council.