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What is a Wellness Recovery Action Plan® (WRAP®) and how do I use it?

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan®, or WRAP®, is an evidence based practice that is used world-wide by people who are dealing with mental health challenges as well as medical conditions. Diabetes, weight gain, pain management, addictions, smoking, and trauma are just some of the many life challenges that can benefit from WRAP. WRAP can also be used as a framework to guide relationships in peer support, recovery groups, agencies, and organizations.

WRAP is being used in schools, prisons, hospitals, and veterans’ facilities. It is used with people of all ages who want to attain the highest possible level of wellness. It was originally developed by a group of people who lived with mental health difficulties and were searching for ways to resolve their wellness issues. WRAP was their answer, and it can be used by anyone looking to develop a plan to manage a path to wellness.

WRAP involves listing your personal resources, your Wellness Tools, and then using those resources to develop an Action Plan to use in specific situations which you determine. WRAP is adaptable for any situation and can include a Crisis Plan or Advance Directive.

WRAP is for Life! – It is for everyone, anytime, and for any of life's challenges.

 WRAP Overview                              

[video with Mary Ellen Copeland]      Click here to find out more about getting started with WRAP®

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WRAP Your Holiday Season

The holidays used to be very hard for me. I worried a lot about them. I was afraid I would be alone and that I would feel discouraged and depressed. Then I decided to be more proactive and make sure I enjoyed the holidays. The first thing I did was make a plan for a day for myself that I would really enjoy following in case no one was available to spend the day with me. This plan included making myself food I love to eat and eating it, listening to holiday music, watching a movie I love, calls to family members who live far away, doing a meditation exercise I enjoy, rereading inspirational poems and a long walk with my dog. Having that plan ready, just in case nothing else worked out, felt really good to me. Once I had that back up plan, I began making plans with others to create the holiday of my dreams. I never did have to use that back up plan but I still have it just in case.              -Mary Ellen Copeland

The holiday season for many cultures around the world is upon us. People are celebrating in many ways; however, this time does not always translate to the magical season depicted in the media. Instead, it can be a stress-filled and lonely time. During the holidays, review your WRAP every day and take time to evaluate whether a holiday adaptation would be of benefit. If you know this season has unique triggers, drawing up an action plan ahead of time will help you get through this difficult time and perhaps even make it enjoyable.


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Diabetic Restrictions? No Need to Dread Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday. No need to think about what present would make a friend or relative happy, just gather around a big table and enjoy company, conversation...and food. I really like food. I like cooking and I really like eating—not so fond of cleaning up afterward, however.

When I lost most of my pancreas to surgery a few years ago and became diabetic, holidays became more stressful. Most of my favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas foods—potatoes, butternut squash, stuffing, homemade bread, cranberry sauce, gravy, pie, ice cream—contain far more carbs than my little remaining piece of pancreas can handle. Trying to guess how many units of insulin might cover my favorite foods is impossible. And then, if I inject enough insulin to cover everything, my family will want to postpone dessert until later, not understanding that I cannot do that.

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Highly Recommended WRAP Course

I have taken the course Implementing Mental Health Evidence-Based Practices: The Case of Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) and I recommend it highly to anyone who is implementing, has implemented or is considering implementing a WRAP program or any other evidence-based program, and for Advanced Level WRAP Facilitators who might find themselves advocating for WRAP programs, helping to get the program started and insuring its continuance.  

The course gives detailed instructions for implementation that, if followed, insure success. The beginning of the course is more generic, giving the basics of successful implementation, and toward the end it focuses almost exclusively on WRAP. This course would have been of great value to me over the years in my efforts to disseminate WRAP. It would have helped me avoid missteps, those times when I had to back up and take a different track or change the focus of my efforts. Although WRAP has done very well, as I took the course I thought about different ways we could have done things, and how that might have enhanced and eased the process.

This course is eligible for Continuing Education credit for those who need it. At a cost of $5.00, it is the best bargain around. You can access it at http://www.cmhsrp.uic.edu/health/ebp-wrap-course.asp.


Mary Ellen Copeland and her staff cannot address personal mental health problems and issues. We care very much about your concerns but we must focus our efforts on education and resource development. For more information on how to get help for yourself or the people you are supporting, please use the resources on this website.

© 1995-2014 Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD All Rights Reserved