The Wellness Recovery Action Plan® or WRAP®, is a self-designed prevention and wellness process that anyone can use to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be. It was developed in 1997 by a group of people who were searching for ways to overcome their own mental health issues and move on to fulfilling their life dreams and goals. It is now used extensively by people in all kinds of circumstances, and by health care and mental health systems all over the world to address all kinds of physical, mental health and life issues.
WRAP has been studied extensively in rigorous research projects and is listed in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.
WRAP Will Help You:
- Discover your own simple, safe wellness tools
- Develop a list of things to do every day to stay as well as possible
- Identify upsetting events, early warning signs and signs that things have gotten much worse and, using wellness tools, develop action plans for responding at these times
- Create a crisis plan
- Create a post-crisis plan
WRAP is for anyone, any time. It will support you in being the way you want to be and doing the things you want to do.
“When the group developed WRAP, I was so impressed that I went home and wrote one for myself. As I began to live WRAP, my life changed dramatically. Over time I felt better and better and better. WRAP is a way of life for me—a great life.”
— Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, author of the original Wellness Recovery Action Plan
Wellness Toolbox – A list of resources used to develop your WRAP. It includes things like: contacting friends and supporters, peer counseling, focusing exercises, relaxation and stress reduction techniques, journaling, affirming activities, exercise, diet, light, and getting a good night’s sleep. See examples of wellness tools
Daily Plan – Describe yourself when you are well, and list things you need to do every day to maintain wellness.
Stressors– External events or circumstances that, if they happen, may make you feel uncomfortable. These are normal reactions, but if we don’t deal with them in some way, they may actually cause us to feel worse.
Audio clip, Mary Ellen on Stressors (formerly referred to as triggers):
Early Warning Signs – Internal, subtle signs that let you know you are beginning to feel worse. Reviewing Early Warning Signs regularly helps us to become more aware of them and allow us to take action before they worsen.
When Things are Breaking Down – List signs that let you know you are feeling much worse, like feeling sad all the time, or are hearing voices. Using your Wellness Toolbox, develop a powerful action plan to help you feel better as quickly as possible and prevent an even more difficult time.
Crisis Plan – Identify signs that let others know they need to take over responsibility for your care and decision making. Outline a plan for who you want to take over and support you through this time, healthcare, staying home, things others can do to help and things they might choose to do that would not be helpful. This kind of proactive advanced planning keeps you in control even when it seems like things are out of control. Visit the WRAP Info Center’s Crisis Planning Page.
Post-Crisis Plan – You may want to think about this part of the plan in advance and write some things to do post crisis. However, you may want to write most of it as you are beginning to recover from the crisis—when you have a clearer picture of what you need to do for yourself to get well. If you have just been through a crisis, let your Post Crisis Plan guide you as you heal.
Key Recovery Concepts
Five key recovery concepts provide the foundation of effective recovery work.
Hope – People who experience mental health difficulties get well, stay well and go on to meet their life dreams and goals.
Personal Responsibility – It’s up to you, with the assistance of others, to take action and do what needs to be done to keep yourself well.
Education – Learning all you can about what you are experiencing so you can make good decisions about all aspects of you life.
Self Advocacy – Effectively reaching out to others so that you can get what it is that you need, want and deserve to support your wellness and recovery.
Support – While working toward your wellness is up to you, receiving support from others, and giving support to others will help you feel better and enhance the quality of your life.
Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, is the co-originator of Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) and 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, the simple, safe, non-invasive ways that they get well, stay well and move forward in there lives, and then sharing what she have 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.