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Healing Books Project promotes mental health literacy


A service focused on providing self-help and therapeutic books to support people struggling with mental health and addictions has recently celebrated a milestone.

The Healing Books Project, a collaboration with Horizon Health Network's (Horizon) Addiction and Mental Health Services and delivered in collaboration with the New Brunswick Public Library Service (NBPLS) with support from MindCare New Brunswick (MindCareNB) has been providing self-help and therapeutic books to clients for 15 months. Since then, more than 5,100 titles have been checked out from libraries across New Brunswick.

Jean Daigle, Horizon's VP of Community said he's proud of this collaboration because New Brunswickers can get the help and support they need on their own and work through the books at their own pace.

"People can access e-books or read copies in a place where they are comfortable to improve their overall health," said Daigle. "The Healing Books Project serves not only patients and clients who are looking for information on mental health, but their families and caregivers as well."

The Healing Books Project, which launched in July 2018, is focused on providing resources in the form of self-help and therapeutic books to New Brunswickers struggling with their mental health and/or addictions. The books are available to borrow from any New Brunswick Public Library, free of charge, for anyone with a valid library card.

The Healing Books Project was made possible thanks to a $25,000 grant from MindCareNB, a committee of the Board of Directors within the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation (SJRHF). They fund 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 in the Healing Books Project collection.

Jeannette Mallet, a human services counselor at Horizon's Addiction and Mental Health Services in Moncton, said she often encourages clients in her practice to access the titles available through the Healing Books Project.

"Since the launch of the Healing Books Project, clients have grown an interest in reading more about topics that are pertinent to their recovery journey and applying the skills in their lives," she said. "The Healing Books Project provides direct access for clients to read on the topics of their choice and it is accessible here at the clinic and any public library."

In her day-to-day work, Mallet supports clients and ensures they are aware of (and can access) community services.

"I provide education sessions on grief recovery, advocate on behalf of my clients and provide skills and support for clients to be independent and part of our community," Mallet said. "The Healing Books support my work with clients, who are always interested in additional ways to get help in their recovery journey."

Jeff McAloon, president and CEO, SJRHF and MindCareNB, said they could see the value of the project when it was first brought to them.

"Its success is a testament to the passion and care of the administrators, and the confidence their thousands of clients have in finding a book that meets their needs," said McAloon, of the high volume of books checked out by library users. "People generously donate to us with the trust we will help put their money to good use, and the proof is in these numbers."

The Healing Books Project consists of more than 1,300 books, on 35 topics for children, adolescents, and adults. The collection also includes resources for caregivers, family and friends of people with mental health and addictions challenges.

This initiative will continue to serve people who are struggling and also help reduce stigma by educating people about mental illness. 

The Healing Books Project was founded by a Horizon client with lived experience and supported by Horizon's Addiction and Mental Health team. She 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 (PTSD).

Chantale Bellemare, librarian at the Moncton Public Library, said all New Brunswick residents with a valid library card have access, at no cost, to English and French books, e-books, and audiobooks, as well as resources for those with print disabilities. 

"With the Healing Books Project, we were able to add a significant number of additional resources available to all New Brunswickers," said Bellemare. "Now, more than a year later, we are very pleased to see how much the Healing Books have been borrowed and renewed by library patrons across the province."

Books in the Healing Books collection are available through all 64 New Brunswick Public Libraries through the online catalogue on the following topics:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Addictions: alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography
  • Alzheimer's
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Autism and Asperger's
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Chronic pain and chronic illness
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders: bulimia, anorexia
  • Grief: death, divorce, suicide
  • 2SLGBTQ+
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Parenting
  • Panic attacks
  • Personal growth: mindfulness, self-compassion, self-esteem
  • Phobias
  • Post-partum depression
  • Relationships
  • Schizophrenia
  • Self-harm
  • Stress
  • Trauma - emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Complex PTSD

For more information and to access the Healing Books Project collection, visit


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