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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®

WRAP for Life Bundle


WRAP® Values and Ethics

I want to share with you the WRAP® Values and Ethics because the development of these values and ethics was a peer support process. These values and ethics were not a mandate from some higher authority, but rather evolved over time as groups of peers considered and revised them until they arrived at a list that all could agree with. I shared them, and others did too, at workshops, training events, seminars, and support group meetings and through early internet groups. This was before Facebook.  We knew the process was complete when people stopped challenging them and said they were right--then we knew they really were right.  If someone comes up with a value they feel should be added to this list, we will put it through that same process before determining it should be added to this list.  And this time we will be able to use Facebook. The following list is of the current WRAP Values and Ethics with added comments in italics.
• WRAP supports hope. It is clearly understood that people get well, stay well for long periods of time, and do the things they want to do with their lives.

The old messages we used to get that told us we would never get better, that we would likely get worse over time and that there is nothing we can do to help ourselves were wrong.

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Preparing for an Appointment

To ensure that you get the most out of your appointments with health care providers, you might want to make a list of questions, concerns, or changes that you’d like to discuss with your doctor. In the midst of an appointment, it sometimes easy to forget things that you intended to bring up. Making a list of issues could assist the physician in his or her detective work. Start your list several days in advance of your visit, giving yourself time to think of any additional information that needs to be included. When you arrive at your appointment, ask the receptionist or nurse to make a copy of your list. Give one to the doctor to review at the beginning of your appointment. Review it again at the end of your visit to ensure that all important issues have been addressed to your satisfaction.

It is also a good idea to bring along a copy of your current medications and supplements. You may save yourself some stress trying to remember spellings and dosages. Reviewing medications and supplements at each appointment is important, especially if you are seeing a new doctor or multiple doctors. Don’t apologize for bringing information and questions to the doctor. A good doctor will appreciate your questions.

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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