Building a strong support system is only successful when you are able to maintain a support team.
As many of you may know, I am in the process of rewriting and updating Wellness Recovery Action Plan & Peer Support. This has reminded me of the importance of having and keeping a strong support system. In the last e-mails, we have reviewed ways to help build your support team. Once you have built a strong support system, how are you going to keep it strong? Following are some of the ways that others have shared with me, and that I use myself:
- Do everything you can to keep yourself healthy. Make your wellness your highest priority. Develop and use a WRAP.
- Work on development of good social skills if that has been an issue for you.
- Be an active member of a support or special interest group. I am in a book group and a mediation group. We all enjoy each other so much and are there for each other when the going is rough.
- Be mutually supportive. This means being there for others when they need you, as well as asking them to be there for you when you need them.
“My support team is extremely important to my ongoing wellness. I keep good relationships with them by keeping appointments and being on time, keeping in close touch with my supporters, respecting their boundaries, being there for them as much as they are there for me, not promising more than I can do spending time doing things together that we both enjoy and setting aside time for peer support.”
Together, you can use Peer Support to figure out how to move forward in your lives.
- Have several friends. Some people feel that 5 is a good number. You can learn how to make more friends in the Loneliness Book.
- Give your supporters copies of your Crisis Plan or Advance Directive so they will know how to support you if you cannot take care of yourself.
- If it feels right to you, arrange meetings between you, your key supporters and health care providers, so that if they need to contact each other they will already be acquainted.
- Have a meeting of your supporters – Potluck suppers are great! The work is shared and there’s always a good variety of tasty food and fun to be had while socializing.
- Arrange time to Exchange Listen with your supporters if the techniques feel right to you.
Support means different things to different people. Let your supporters know what you need and want so they can be supportive of you in ways that work for both of you.
If you have other suggestions or ideas about building and maintaining supportive relationships, please let me know. I would love to hear your thoughts and share your ideas with others. And please Visit us on Facebook to share your support!
Read More about WRAP and Peer Support:
Get the Support You Need Now – While your recovery journey is yours alone, others help enrich your existence, and counter feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Staying Well Through Support – Explore how to build a strong support system; building support is a skill that can be learned. You have just as much value as anyone else and you deserve support, attention, respect and love. Build a strong Support Team. YOU can do it!
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.