An innovative scheme that can help patients manage their mental health condition through self-help books is being promoted on Teesside.

Using the new Books on Prescription scheme, GPs and health professionals in the Redcar and Cleveland area can advise patients to pick up a particular book to help them better understand their condition.

During December they will write a prescription for a self-help book, which patients will then be able to pick up at supermarkets and libraries in the area.

The scheme is a partnership between Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust.

Patients using the scheme will see their GP as usual, but will be offered a book on prescription, if appropriate.

The books will not replace a patient's usual medication or treatment, but instead will help with mild to moderate conditions, such as stress, depression, anxiety, phobias and mood swings.

Patients would then visit their local library to collect the book, or arrange for it to be ordered from another branch, free of charge.

The scheme encourages treatment through self-help and community-based care through liaison with local libraries, health centres and other related agencies, and has already proved popular in other parts of the country.

Not only can assist those people suffering from mental health illnesses, but can also help their family and friends to better appreciate the symptoms, causes and treatments.

Anna Whalen, from the psychological therapies team, said: "It is really important that we connect with members of the public to alert them that this help is available.

"Through reading the self-help books, many people can gain more information about their problems and it can help family members and carers to further understand mental health problems."

The primary care psychological therapies team has been touring the area this month and, thanks to further funding, have been able to purchase more books.

The team is out and about to raise the profile of book on prescription and will be in Saltburn library on Tuesday, January 8, between 9.30am and 7pm.