National Council

Trauma occurs when a person is overwhelmed by events or circumstances and responds with intense fear, horror, and helplessness. Extreme stressoverwhelms the person’s capacity to cope. There is a direct correlation between trauma and physical health conditions such as diabetes, COPD, heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure.

There were many times in my life when I felt very inadequate.  I didn’t feel worthy of a good life.  I felt I was masquerading as a person who knew what she was doing.  When other people praised me, I thought they were well-intentioned, but didn’t know the truth about me.  From my point of view, the truth was that I was a massive mess, with very few skills, who was just pretending to be coordinating a worthwhile life.

That’s a pretty bold statement I know, but it is fitting because it’s absolutely true!  I will attempt to paint the picture of a past life, littered with drug and alcohol use, exactly how it brought me to my knees, and how WRAP provided me with a set of all-encompassing tools that allowed for my health and sanity to be restored.

Values and Ethics of WRAP

Strong values and ethics are the cornerstone of WRAP, Mary Ellen Copeland’s work, and Copeland Center trainings. Facilitators should understand these ethics before leading Mental Health Recovery and WRAP groups and workshops to ensure a supportive environment for learning.

By Carol Bailey Floyd

 - I clearly remember in 2002, taking my first WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) workshop. When we got to the part about Wellness Tools, I was thrilled because I realized that for my whole life, I had done fun things when I was feeling good, and NOT done them when I was feeling low.

The Way WRAP Works

Executive Summary

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) is a personalized wellness and recovery system born out of and rooted in the principle of self-determination. In 2010, WRAP® was recognized by the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as an evidence-based practice and listed in the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices ( Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) released the results of a rigorous study that demonstrated significantly positive behavioral health outcomes for individuals with severe and persistent mental health challenges who participated in peer-led WRAP® groups. Research studies on WRAP® from UIC cited that positive outcomes were tied to the fidelity of the WRAP® facilitation model designed by Mary Ellen Copeland and developed by the Copeland Center.

Today, WRAP® is being widely implemented by behavioral health systems, however, significant compromises to the resources provided and fidelity in implementing WRAP® is falling short of the quality people in recovery deserve. People in recovery deserve the best services we have to offer!

By Eric C. Larson

The nature of self-care is that there is no external validation from society that you are doing something of value. Hence the tendency to relinquish self-care as a rite of passage to work hard is a historical trend. Unfortunately some of my career success has been built upon the self-made premise that I show up consistently even when I don’t feel well.  Granted sometimes I feel better if I just get out the door and push through morning malaise but other times it is more distinct and this is where I lack awareness.

by Carol Bailey Floyd

Integrating gratitude into your WRAP is a very effective way of empowering it.  Most people know that gratitude is a good thing, but not too many people realize how extremely powerful it is. Studies conducted by Michael McCullough, PhD and Robert A. Emmons PhD uncovered many benefits of gratitude.  They found that grateful people are more optimistic, energetic, determined, interested, joyful, and enthusiastic.  Those are reasons enough to cultivate gratitude in our lives!  But here are even more benefits:

Grateful people feel stronger about handling challenges, have fewer illnesses, get more sleep, and exercise more.  They are more likely to help other people, are less envious, have more clear thinking, and have better resilience.  People who are grateful experience less stress, have a higher immune response, are less possessive, have closer family ties, make more progress towards goals, and have longer lives!!

These benefits of gratitude can make your WRAP stronger and even more effective.  Practicing gratitude is a terrific wellness tool, and when it is turned into an action plan, it can be quite amazing. 

by Matthew Federici, Executive Director

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan can “Save Lives!”  I recently attended a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration) Wellness Steering Committee, when it became clear that we need to shine a light on the whole health approach that WRAP® is in the lives of so many of us.  The SAMHSA Wellness Steering committee is a multidisciplinary Steering Committee representing “consumers”, providers, and researchers guiding national strategies to tackle the issues of whole health for people who are served by the mental health system as a result of alarming number of people with mental health diagnosis who are having significant medical issues including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and are receiving inadequate access to medical care.

Mary Ellen,
I realize you must be an extremely busy person so you can read this when you have some time on your hands. I was twelve years old when I was diagnosed Bipolar. I was on heavy medication schedules and in one mental hospital or another my entire childhood. By the time I was thirty-one years old, I opted not to have children as my doctors explained to me it would be irresponsible for someone as mentally ill as I was to bring children into the world. I was a recluse and eventually became a full blown agoraphobic. So there I was; childless, poor, alone, overweight and completely lost in a world that was sold to me from a very young age.