The Wilton community that would like credible information about mental health will soon have a new resource at Wilton Library. Mental Health “To-Go Kits” that can be checked out just like a library book have been designed 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. Silver Hill absorbed all costs associated with creating the kits. Twelve topics are covered, one per To-Go 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, MLIS, the 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 the Wilton Library, says this program fits perfectly with their mission of being an educational resource for Wilton. “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 adds.

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. “We’ve had interest from libraries in several nearby towns,” says Romano. “We’d like to bring To-Go Kits to those locations as well. Our goal is to eradicate the misunderstandings and stigma surrounding mental illness.”

Each To-Go Kit will have a barcode and anyone with a library card registered with the library may borrow them 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.

For more information, visit Wilton Library’s website for a link to all twelve topics or call the library’s reference librarians at 203.762.6350.

Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Rd..