Improving and sustaining mental wellbeing through keeping in touch.
Bibliotherapy "is the use of reading creatively; books, stories and poems to make people feel better...It is for anyone who may be suffering from stress, mild depression or is feeling isolated and lonely."
It takes place in both libraries and secure mental health wards, and is used "to combat isolation and loneliness in people with mental health issues."
Thumbprint bibliotherapy makes a powerful difference to people taking part:
It is a way for people to look after themselves and each other, rather than falling into a state of mind in which they have to draw on hard pressed and much more expensive professional support:
Using Thumbprint is a low-cost way of keeping in touch with people "out of hours" when organisations are shut but people can feel most in need of support.
Using Thumbprint is an investment in reducing future costs.
Both Julie Walker's use of Thumbprint and that of Copleston Together, a community mental health and wellbeing network in South London, have highlighted that keeping in touch with people reassures them that support is available should they need it, and so they are less likely to need it.
Julia Honess of Copleston Together says:
Using Thumbprint was evaluated as part of an independent report on bibliotherapy:
People who take part in the use of Thumbprint in bibliotherapy report that sometimes the contact is at “just the right time", and this is also reported by Lifeline participants.
The positive outcomes of the approach taken by Julie Walker, Lifeline and Hoot by using Thumbprint have also been identified and validated in academic research, notably by Adrian Aguilera, Assistant Professor in the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley, who said in an email correspondence that: