WRAP was developed in 1997. Since that time hundreds of thousands of people have been in WRAP groups, used WRAP resources and developed their own personal WRAP. In that time, many, many people have said to me “WRAP Gave me Back my Life and Saved My Life”. There is no way to tell how many lives have been saved by WRAP. Even if it was only one life, all the effort that has been gone into making WRAP available to everyone would have been worth it. WRAP gives people hope, even when they are in the midst of great despair. At a time when they may be feeling that there is nothing that will help, WRAP reminds them that there is something they can do to feel better, even if it is just a little better.
Suicide Prevention is on everyone’s mind. Everyone, agencies, organizations, foundations, individuals, all are trying to figure out what to do to prevent suicide. Veterans, teens and older people are ending their lives. On the other hand, people have told me over and over again that WRAP has literally “kept them alive”.
In WRAP for Life, my latest book and the most comprehensive book on the Wellness Recovery Action Plan, I have referred to ways that people have used WRAP to save their lives. The book includes a WRAP prototype for Preventing Suicide. This prototype is a collection of ideas from many of the people who have told me that WRAP saved their life.
Here are a few of the listings from the Wellness Toolbox of this prototype:
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (or dial 988)
- Avoid being alone
- Be with at least one supporter at all times
- Talk, talk, talk to someone who will listen, listen, listen.
- Avoid reading the newspaper, or watching the news on TV or the Internet
- Tell a supporter how I am feeling
- Ask someone to stay with me
- Going to places where you might meet people who could hurt you or who treat you badly
- Getting overtired
Signs that things are breaking down include
- Thinking about ending my life
- Making plans to end my life
- Thinking about or giving away precious belongings
- Stockpiling medications
- Wanting to quickly revise or make a will
- Talking about going away or the need to “get my affairs in order”
The When Things are Breaking Down Action Plan includes:
- Don’t be left alone; keep a trusted companion with me at all times, even staying overnight.
- Tell supporters how you are feeling and ask for their help
- Spend the night with a supporter at their house or at a hotel or motel
- Give your car keys, credit cards, check books, computer, iPhone, iPad, iPod to a trusted supporter
- Get rid of all dangerous pills and firearms
- Make a decision to not take any action
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.