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Paso Robles City Library offers book kits to encourage education on common mental health illnesses



One focus of the California State Library—the central reference and research library for state government and the Legislature—is mental health education.

DESTIGMATIZATION The Paso Robles City Library is encouraging the public to learn about mental health illnesses to combat stigma through its offering of Mental Health and Wellness Book Kits. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PASO ROBLES CITY LIBRARY
  • Photo Courtesy Of The Paso Robles City Library
  • DESTIGMATIZATION The Paso Robles City Library is encouraging the public to learn about mental health illnesses to combat stigma through its offering of Mental Health and Wellness Book Kits.

Karen Christiansen, adult services librarian for the Paso Robles City Library, told New Times that in order to provide educational materials on a variety of common mental health topics, the California State Library's Mental Health initiative staff curated Mental Health and Wellness Book Kits. Then, the State Library provided public libraries with the opportunity to apply for a grant to receive the kits, and the Paso Robles City Library was selected as a grant recipient. Through the grant funding, the Paso Robles library is now offering eight book kits to the public.

"The Paso Robles City Library is the only library in the Black Gold Library System that currently has the kits, but many libraries throughout the state have received them," Christiansen said.

The kits highlight topics that include: anxiety, depression, grief, mindfulness and stress relief, substance abuse, postpartum depression, PTSD, and mental health and wellness. Each kit contains four books on the specific kit topic and a list of online resources for further information.

"The kits may include titles of books that we carry in the library's regular book collections, but by bringing them together in a curated kit along with the online resources lists, we make the information more accessible to our community members," she said.

Christiansen said a recent California Health Interview Survey found that nearly 1 in 10 adults in the state suffer from functional impairment due to a mental illness. The survey also concluded that 9 percent of adults in California are experiencing psychological suffering to the point that it affects their work and social life.

She said the city library recognizes that mental health issues are common and also stigmatized.

"By providing the information in these kits, we hope to help those facing mental health issues and remove some of the stigma surrounding them," Christiansen said. "I would hope that when community members use these kits and learn more about conditions such as substance abuse or PTSD [two of the kit topics available], they will gain a greater understanding of the struggles faced by those who suffer from the conditions, become more empathetic towards them, and thereby the stigma is reduced or eliminated."

If someone still has questions about any of the topics, Christiansen said, the library reference staff could assist them in finding even more materials on one of the topics included in the kits.

Kits can be checked out for six weeks and placed on hold for pickup.

The Paso Robles City Library is located at 1000 Spring St. and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on library programs, events, or general inquiries, please call (805) 237-3870 or visit

Fast fact

The Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART), a Cambria-based volunteer service organization, was selected by The Jackson Galaxy Project to participate in the 2020 class of Cat Pawsitive, a life-saving initiative that introduces positive-reinforcement training to cats in shelters and rescues. The Jackson Galaxy Project is a program of, a charitable organization devoted to improving the health and well-being of people, pets, and the planet. The program is funded by the Petco Foundation, and its goal is to train cats in order to increase feline adoption rates, maintain cat "mojo," and connect more quickly with potential adopters. To learn more about HART and its participation in the Cat Pawsitive program, visit, call (805) 927-7377, or visit the shelter at 2638 Main St., Cambria. Δ

Staff Writer Karen Garcia wrote this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send tidbits to

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