I first became aware of Mary Ellen Copeland and WRAP many years ago, when we invited her to speak at a workshop that our national Research and Training Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago was hosting on self-determination for people in mental health recovery. Mary Ellen filled the workshop to standing-room-only capacity, which impressed me even before I heard her speak.
Then she began sharing her personal story, along with the journey that she and others took to develop a safe, simple, and effective way for people to manage their mental and emotional well-being. If you’ve heard Mary Ellen speak, you know the impact she has. We were all energized, and the Illinois WRAP movement was born.
The tagline on my email says it all: “Be a hope receiver today to be a hope giver tomorrow.” But I didn’t always have hope. Far from it.
From the time I was in high school in the early 1970s, all I wanted to do was die. I didn’t believe in suicide because of my faith, so I was not actively trying to end my life. But despite beginning my recovery and working as a peer support specialist, I felt like I wanted to die for more than 20 years.
That began to change in 2003 when I attended a conference in Lansing, Michigan, where Mary Ellen Copeland spoke about WRAP. Michigan didn’t have WRAP groups at that time, but I knew I wanted to attend, so I went back to my agency and wrote a proposal to bring WRAP to Michigan. That helped fund my participation in a WRAP correspondence class, and I began to buy every WRAP book I could get my hands on.
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The WRAP Info Center is the place to look for answers about WRAP. What is the Info Center? It is a collection of articles, forms, and information all arranged in a logical, searchable library. Visit the WRAP Info Center and find out more.