A grant from the Whitby Mayor’s Community Development Fund has made it possible to launch a year-long pilot service to individuals with lived experience of mental illness, their families and friends. Ontario Shores will be introducing a free lending library that provides books and information on mental health. Residents of the Durham Region may come to the Ontario Shores library in-person to browse and borrow materials, or if they are Whitby residents, they may choose to browse and order materials online and have materials delivered directly to their door using a prepaid return mailing service funded by the grant.
The purpose of the Mental Health Self-Help Lending Library is to improve understanding of mental health disorders, which may help to decrease the stigma that is often associated with a mental illness. Improving access to mental health resources among community members, parents, and families, may lead to seeking earlier interventions and treatment. Mary McDiarmid, Ontario Shores Librarian, is an experienced mental health information provider and says “Bibliotherapy is a form of guided self-help and evidence strongly suggests that library based interventions and the provision of needed information could be beneficial for service users and the community at large.”
The site is now available on the Ontario Shores website: http://www.ontarioshores.ca/lendinglibrary/