Words have the power to change the way we see things. Those without a voice struggle to get heard.
Literacy is more than just being able to read. It is about being able to use knowledge acquired to make a difference.
As a GP I am concerned about health literacy - the ability to make use of the vast array of information available about dis-ease in a way that reduces distress and dependency on health providers.
As a Councillor I worry about the increasing gap between the information rich and the information poor. If you are able to read this, online, be grateful that somewhere along the line you acquired computer literacy and access to the technology required to use it.
According to Government's digital inclusion strategy, around 21% of Britain’s population lack the basic digital skills and capabilities required to realise the benefits of the internet. The threat to public libraries - the main providers of introductory sessions for the computer illiterate - has the potential to leave the have-nots even further behind.
On 28th October 2013 I helped to launch the Leicestershire 'Books on Prescription' service to a mixed audience including librarians and health professionals.
Chris Williams 'Five Areas CBT' is a version of cognitive behaviour therapy designed to by used by non-mental health professionals.
With quirky titles like 'I Can't Go On' and 'Write All Over Your Bathroom Mirror, the texts are bright and accessible to people whose reading may be impaired.
Chris Williams 'Little Books' series are now available in Libraries across Leicestershire.
They provide an evidence based approach suitable for a wide range of common distress. They are also available online with voice-overs to make bibliotherapy available for anyone with a disability that impairs their ability to read.
My interest in using language, books, words and libraries to help people overcome depression and distress has wide roots.
As a storyteller, I believe the tales we tell ourselves have the power to heal or harm.