Shelf Help


On Friday 2nd December Hitchin saw the launch of an exciting new pilot project called ‘Shelf Help.’ This is a reading scheme that is being adopted by The Priory School and Phase and is gradually being used by schools and libraries around the country.

Shelf help is a list of 35 books which cover a range of topics including anxiety, body image, self-esteem, depression, self-harm and others with the hope that the books give young people the tools and strategies to help themselves or even their friends. The Priory School and Phase are the two organisations recruited to take part in a Wellcome Trust funded research study being run at the University of Westminser.

Dr Marie Polley, lead researcher said: “I am really looking forward to understanding more about the experience of the young people and key adults who use the Shelf-Help books over the next few months. We hope this will identify important information on the impact of the Shelf-Help scheme”.

We believe that it will equip us as youth workers to better support young people but more importantly it will empower them to support themselves. - Donna Wade, Phase

Donna Wade, Support & Interventions Lead at Phase said:
“Shelf-Help is such an excellent initiative for Phase to be part of, the books selected cover an important range of relevant mental health topics. We believe that it will equip us as youth workers to better support young people but more importantly it will empower them to support themselves, which is at the heart of everything Phase does. The Reading Well books have been chosen by young people and health professionals and are endorsed by leading health organisations including NHS England, Public Health England and YoungMinds.”


Katie Southall, Assistant Head of Hitchin’s The Priory School said:

“Building students’ wellbeing is a huge priority for us as a school. We want to see our young people have the tools to help both themselves and their peers. Being a part of Shelf-Help in partnership with Phase means that we can begin to help students help themselves."

Shelf-Help is part of the Reading Well for young people is delivered by The Reading Agency and Society of Chief Librarians with funding from Arts Council England and the Wellcome Trust. The books are available to borrow for free from public libraries.

Donna added:“If you are a young person in Hitchin who would like to read any of the book in the shelf-help reading scheme then please contact us by email Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or pop into Hitchin Library

You can see a full list of the books that are part of the Shelf-Help scheme here

At Phase we want to promote wellbeing and resilience for all young people, prevent issues from developing and support those struggling with a mental health difficulty.

Through our work across schools we provide a variety of different programmes which aim to give young people the tools to cope with the challenges of teenage life, from assemblies thinking about understanding feelings and emotions to support groups for those struggling with self-harm or anxiety.

Phase is a charity which is dependent on donations. Text MAKE05 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 and help us provide support to young people