Wilton Library patrons concerned about mental health may draw on a new resource —  Mental Health “To-Go Kits” that can be checked out just like a library book. They have been designed and paid for by Silver Hill Hospital.

The sturdy white cardboard boxes are small enough to fit in a backpack but large enough to hold two or three books, DVDs, CDs, the Southwest Regional Mental Health Board’s Resource Guide and a list of additional resources that can be found at bookstores or online. Twelve topics are covered, one per kit: alcoholism, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, chronic pain, depression, eating disorders, opioid addiction, schizophrenia, substance abuse, suicide ideation, and teen stress.

“Our 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment highlighted a gap in understanding mental illnesses, one that often delays treatment,” says Anne Romano, director of library services at Silver Hill.  “As one of the leading psychiatric hospitals, we feel it is our responsibility to help fill that gap. The library is an important town hub that residents turn to for research and information. There is no better place for us to reach the entire community.”

Elaine Tai-Lauria, executive director of Wilton Library, says this program fits perfectly with the library’s mission. “With so many outlets online that people use as their sources of information, it’s also important to be able to put concrete reliable medical information directly into someone’s hands,” she said.

The National Institutes of Health reports that mental illness impacts one in four adults each year, and one in five teens. Silver Hill partnered with the New Canaan library last year to pilot the program and has had interest from libraries in area towns to extend the offerings.

Each kit may be borrowed for up to three weeks. Books, DVDs and CDs must be returned in the box by the due date. The resource lists from Silver Hill Hospital and the Southwest Regional Mental Health Board may be kept by the individual.

The library’s website, www.wiltonlibrary.org, has a link to all 12 topics. The library’s reference librarians may be reached at 203-762-6350 with questions.