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The Big Read 2021-22

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Reading and your wellbeing   

Reading has long been understood to offer therapeutic value. Reading for wellbeing, sometimes called ‘bibliotherapy’, can offer many benefits and when undertaken as shared reading can improve our mental health by fostering community and belonging.  

One of the aims of our Big Read is to provide an opportunity for shared reading and common talking points for our whole university community. We believe this is even more important as we continue to experience the challenges brought by the pandemic.  

We also recognise that the themes and topics of a Big Read can be challenging. In many ways this is a good thing. Being exposed to different viewpoints, experiences and knowledge helps us learn and develop as individuals and as a community.  

For some readers, a book might also trigger anxiety or other negative reactions. Although our Big Read this year is based on hope, some of the facts it presents about the climate emergency are deeply concerning.  

In recent years, there has been increasing recognition by health professions of ‘climate anxiety’ and ‘eco-anxiety’. Please remember there is a range of support services available to you here at Hallam if you want to talk this through with somebody or would like some support for any other reason. The Student Wellbeing service at Hallam provides a wealth of information and advice to support you and help you make the most of your student experience. They offer one-to-one support from wellbeing practitioners, group sessions, along with a range of self-help resources. For staff at Hallam, we have a dedicated area on the staff intranet for wellbeing support, which includes various resources and an employee assistance programme. 



Bates, J. & Schuman, A. (2016). Books do furnish a mind: the art and science of bibliotherapy. The Lancet, 387(10020), 742-743.

Clayton, S. (2020). Climate anxiety: psychological responses to climate change. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 74, 102263.

Rao, M. & Powell, R. (2021, October 6). The climate crisis and the rise of eco-anxiety. The BMJ Opinion.

The Reading Agency. (2013). Reading Well evidence base.