Appendix A: Wellness Recovery Action Plan

WRAP is a self-management recovery system designed to decrease symptoms, increase personal responsibility and improve the quality of life for people who experience psychiatric symptoms. This self-designed plan teaches you how to keep yourself well, to identify and monitor your symptoms and to use simple, safe, personal skills, supports, and strategies to reduce or eliminate symptoms. WRAP is not meant to replace, but to complement, professional health support and medications, though in more and more cases people are able to shift the balance of care to this self-management approach over time.

The enthusiasm for this program has been overwhelming. People who experience psychiatric symptoms are desperate to find effective, safe things that they can do for themselves that will improve their level of wellness and quality of life.

This monitoring system was devised in 1997 by a group of people who experience psychiatric symptoms. Consequently, a resource book was developed by Mary Ellen Copeland and her staff that describes the system and facilitates its use. Each person writes their own WRAP. The materials required are a 1″ thick three-ring binder, five tabbed separators, and plenty of three-holed paper.

In developing your own Wellness Recovery Action Plan™, you will first want to spend some time developing your Wellness Toolbox–studying reponses that others have used to help themselves feel better, like developing a strong support system, peer counseling, focusing, relaxation and stress reduction exercises, journaling, creative, fun and affirming activity, exercise, diet, light, and getting a good night’s sleep. In the Wellness Toolbox you will also identify those things you may already know and do to take good care of yourself. You will use these “tools” to develop your own plan.

Section 1 is a listing of daily maintenance activities – those activities you know you must do every day to maintain your wellness. There is also a listing of how you define your own wellness.

Section 2 lists personal triggers – those events that might cause an increase in symptoms. Then, using the strategies learned previously, you develop and write a plan to get through this difficult time .

Section 3 addresses early warning signs – those subtle signs that warn of a possible worsening of symptoms. These signs are identified and listed, and plans developed for responding to them when they come up to help prevent a difficult time.

Section 4 addresses when things are breaking down – listing those symptoms that indicate that the situation is worsening significantly. Symptoms are listed, and again, response plans are developed.

Section 5 is an intensive crisis plan that identifies those symptoms that indicate you would want others to take over responsibility for care and decision making, lists who will take responsibility for care, and describes acceptable and unacceptable actions to take on your behalf.

The WRAP approach empowers you to take control of your own health and wellness, while reducing symptoms and improving the quality of life. Since its development, the system has been shared with thousands of people through the books Wellness Recovery Action Plan™, Winning Against Relapse, the Winning Against Relapse Audio Tape, through numerous support groups, workshops and seminars, and through the web site.

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Appendix E: Additional Quotes from Survey Participants