by Susan Campbell
I had the pleasure of hearing you Mary Ellen Copeland speak at the Pittsburgh Recovery conference on September 11. I have never written to a speaker before but felt so comfortable hearing you speak about your experiences that I thought I’d give it a try.
I am an LCSW working as a supervisor for a rural mental health clinic. In my years as a therapist, I have shared my own mental health experiences in hopes of helping people see that they can achieve what others told them they could not. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1993 after years of failed marriages, alcohol, etc., etc., etc. You know the story. After my first hospitalization I decided to go back to school. I earned my BSW in 1996 and my MSW in 1998. I have had a total of four hospitalizations and have been on numerous medications.
Thankfully, I have been stable for the last couple of years. It took a lot of hard work learning how to do the very things you were talking about at the conference. When I was able to believe in myself, my recovery began.
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.