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The Copeland Center celebrated National Wellness Week with three webinars designed to encourage individuals, families, and communities across the country to improve their health behaviors.

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.

Know illness - know what wellness is worth. The single most important lesson diabetes has taught me is that self-care is a priority. The wisdom around living with Diabetes is hard won. WRAP helps me to capture that learning and to build upon habits necessary to maintain my life.

In this webinar, Sherri Rushman, Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator, will guide attendees through the process of identifying support related Wellness Tools and then using those tools to build a powerful WRAP. "Everyone needs friends we can talk to, pals to share activities with, and people we can depend on. This training is based on Mary Ellen Copeland's "The Loneliness Workbook" and we will explore: definitions of loneliness, images of loneliness, what loneliness means to you, why people may avoid you, how to use wellness tools to relieve loneliness, how to enjoy time alone, looking at your strengths, and how to have mutual relationships."

WRAP Facilitator, Dawn Heffernan, explored how WRAP has helped her create the plan that works for her around food. As Dawn says: "I struggled with issues around food, why did I eat ALL the cookies or chocolate, why did I have so little self-control around certain foods. I would like to share my journey with you and together we may shine some light on this difficult subject. I make no promises but developing your own WRAP around food is possible and achieving your goal is not as impossible as you might think."

For large numbers of people in Vermont the only access to Mental Health Services is through their primary care provider in community clinics. This workshop tells about how a small rural hospital which is also a Patient-Centered Medical Home in Vermont, received a grant to improve access to Mental Health for persons served. They chose WRAP as the way to reach the largest number of people. In this workshop participants will learn the process Mt. Ascutney Hospital & Health Center used to contract with Advanced level WRAP Facilitators to develop a successful, sustainable WRAP Program as part of their ongoing education/prevention workshop offerings.

by Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D

Many of you have taken WRAP classes or been part of a WRAP group. Perhaps you facilitate a WRAP group. Maybe you are a health care provider who supports people in using their WRAP or a system administrator who makes it possible for people to learn about WRAP.

Learning about WRAP is an eye-opening experience. Recently a man in a group I was leading in Japan said, “You mean I have been living with this for over 20 years and there are simple safe things I can do and steps I can take to help myself. Why didn’t anyone tell me this before?’ For many people, an introduction to WRAP is the beginning of understanding that that there are many things they can do to facilitatetheir own recovery and wellness, that they have power and control. This can be a huge change after years of feeling totally dependent on others.

by Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D

How are the stressful, frightening events of these times affecting you? Are you having trouble sleeping? Are you avoiding food, or munching at will and putting on extra pounds? Do you feel anxious and fearful much of the time? Are your symptoms more severe or harder than usual to manage? Do you have distressing and troubling feelings that you have never had before? Are you constantly losing things, noticing that your memory is poor, that you are more irritable than usual? Perhaps you are feeling tempted by an addictive behavior that has been under control for a very long time? If so, you are not alone. People around the world are feeling the stress of these difficult times and it is showing itself in unexpected ways.

Hope for a new tomorrow
Filled with joy and peace
Filled with knowing
You are so worth it
You are so valuable
And you are so unique
There is no one like you
Rejoice in who you are and
Where you are going
Moving onwards and upwards
To new things, to brighter things
To exciting things
Hope for a new tomorrow