by Kathyann Corl
My own journey from physical and mental health disabilities was a challenging disheartening journey but I survived. As I began to hear glimmers of stories about what people called WRAP and I became curious and began to follow the plan for myself.
When our agency started the Peer Support Program I learned about WRAP from people who were using it in our educational programs. That was nine years ago.
Since then we have partnered with the State and others we began to make
WRAP a reality. When the state sponsored a class, I was selected. As I became a WRAP Facilitator, we began offering WRAP groups and started doing Wellness Festivals where we engaged residents with activities that were built around the Key Concepts.
For myself when I faced challenges of loss of my daughter and more complex medical challenges, it would have been easy to give up, instead I used my WRAP tool to work for me. I used visualization and colors to embrace life, at a time when grief and loss surrounded me. I used pictures to define for myself the realities of living a life with chronic illness rather that giving the illness control over my life.
Now I am an ALF Facilitator. Our agency has a vision of the steps to make WRAP work, and I am working with our agency, county and region. What a journey of reclaiming my life it has been!!!!
Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, developed Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) with a group of people with lived experience who were attending a mental health recovery workshop in 1997. She is the original author of the WRAP Red Book, as well as dozens of other WRAP books and materials. She has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to learning from people who have mental health issues; discovering the simple, safe, non-invasive ways they get well, stay well, and move forward in their lives; and then sharing what she has learned with others through keynote addresses, trainings, and the development of books, curriculums, and other resources. Now that she is retired, and that, as she intended, others are continuing to share what she has learned, she continues to learn from those who have mental health issues and those who support them. She is a frequent contributor to this site.