Service users & carers

Accessible information for Service Users and Carers on Covid-19 can be found here:

Recovery College course

The library service has worked with experts by experience (service users with a lived experience of mental health issues) to deliver the Reading and Research for Recovery course at the Recovery College. Evaluations have shown that attendees have found this useful to signpost them to good quality information sources to help them find relevant information to help them with their recovery. If you are a member of staff, carer or service user, you can attend this recovery college course. Further information can be found here

We have purchased several resources for reference such as  “A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers“, edited by: Penny Bee, Helen Brooks, Patrick Callaghan and Karina Lovell.  The title is also available as free online e-book and can be accessed via Manchester University Press website.

About this title: 

[taken from the ‘Forward’ (p.4) and ‘How this book came about’ (p.7) sections].
This handbook is written for patients and members of the public who want to understand more about the approaches, methods and language used by health-services researchers. Patient and public involvement (PPI) in research is now a requirement of most major health-research programmes, and this book is designed to equip these individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary for meaningful participation. Edited by award-winning mental-health researchers, the book has been produced in partnership with mental-health-service users and carers with experience of research involvement.

This book was developed during a five-year research programme funded by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This study aimed to improve service user and carer involvement in care planning in mental health services. The study was called Enhancing the Quality of User Involved Care Planning in Mental Health Services (EQUIP).

This book has been made available under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC-ND)  licence which permits non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction provided the  editor(s), chapter author(s) and Manchester University Press are fully cited. Full licence available here:

You can view a list of Reading Well books, as recommended by the Reading Agency;  they are available for reference in our libraries but are available for loan from Birmingham or Solihull Public Libraries.

In addition, the library subscribes to ‘Asylum Magazine’ – you can browse previous issues of the journal here but if you require access to the latest edition, please contact Uffculme Library.

Uffculme Library 

An open access computer has been set up at the Uffculme Library for use by those attending the recovery college courses, including service users and carers. Some service users have started using the library as a base to do reading and research while attending recovery college courses.

You can download a short guide about library services that are available for Service users and Carers attending the Recovery College.


Books on Wards

The library service has been working with Birmingham City Council’s ‘Library Services at Home’ team to facilitate the provision of a regular book collection for interested inpatient services – two services currently using this service are Cilantro at the Barberry and Ardenleigh.

The library team have also helped with setting up a service user-led library service at Ardenleigh and will soon be working with the occupational therapy team at Reaside Clinic to develop a similar service.

If you would like the team to help your unit, please contact us.

Reading initiatives

The Reading Agency hold a reading challenge every year (currently named ‘Reading Ahead’) in which people are encouraged to read at least six books, poems or articles. They can complete a reading diary and enter a prize draw. For a number of years the library service has offered packs of quick read books and reading diaries to wards and units so that service users have the opportunity to participate. Staff have also participated in these reading challenges.   You can read more about Reading Agency challenges here

Picture of Martina Cole


Popular crime fiction author Martina Cole spoke to service users and staff about her books at the Barberry. This event was well attended and created a shared sense of excitement among both service users and staff who enjoy reading her books.

Wellbeing-themed reading collection for staff, service users and carers


A small group of dedicated readers within the Trust have created an online collection of poems, fiction, true life stories and short stories for adults and children, which could help improve your wellbeing. In early 2014, Pravir Sharma, Consultant Psychiatrist, and Anita Phul, Librarian, began working together on the Many Roads to Wellbeing reading project after Dr Sharma started thinking about how he could help his patients to get better and if reading can support them. Many people enjoy reading and this relaxing activity can have a very positive effect on our wellbeing. It can inspire hope and may give us motivation to move forward and overcome challenges.

Anita says: “The reading resources that may appeal to you will depend on your own preferences and experiences that may be influenced by where you are on your personal life journey. The Many Roads to Wellbeing website allows people to search by themes including acceptance, maintaining hope and cultivating mindfulness.”

To view the collection of reading resources, please visit or enter in the Google search bar ‘many roads to wellbeing reading’.

An accompanying paper booklet is available from our Trust’s Library Services, which contains a few examples of full poems and short stories from the collection. To obtain copies of the booklet for yourself, or to distribute to others, please email:

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