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What is a Wellness Recovery Action Plan® (WRAP®) and how do I use it?

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan®, or WRAP®, is an evidence based practice that is used world-wide by people who are dealing with mental health challenges as well as medical conditions. Diabetes, weight gain, pain management, addictions, smoking, and trauma are just some of the many life challenges that can benefit from WRAP. WRAP can also be used as a framework to guide relationships in peer support, recovery groups, agencies, and organizations.

WRAP is being used in schools, prisons, hospitals, and veterans’ facilities. It is used with people of all ages who want to attain the highest possible level of wellness. It was originally developed by a group of people who lived with mental health difficulties and were searching for ways to resolve their wellness issues. WRAP was their answer, and it can be used by anyone looking to develop a plan to manage a path to wellness.

WRAP involves listing your personal resources, your Wellness Tools, and then using those resources to develop an Action Plan to use in specific situations which you determine. WRAP is adaptable for any situation and can include a Crisis Plan or Advance Directive.

WRAP is for Life! – It is for everyone, anytime, and for any of life's challenges.

 WRAP Overview                              

[video with Mary Ellen Copeland]      Click here to find out more about getting started with WRAP®

Get the WRAP Workbook



How to Self-Advocate

"Not so many years ago, my life was a shambles.  It was hard for me to see into the future and see anything positive.  As I began my studies of how people get well and stay well, it became clear to me that I needed to stop depending on others to advocate for me and that I needed to "step up to the plate" and advocate for myself.  It took time, persistence and practice to become a strong advocate for myself.  But advocating for myself has made it possible for me to have a rich and rewarding life.  I recommend it highly."  Mary Ellen Copeland PhD

Sometimes when people have difficult life issues, they forget (or perhaps never learned) how to advocate for themselves. Others have found that the ability to advocate for one’s self is necessary to wellness and recovery. You may feel as if you have lost control over your life, your rights, and your responsibilities, and that you have lost the ability and right to effectively advocate for yourself. You may have low self-esteem. Regaining your sense of control by successfully advocating for yourself will give you back the hope and self-esteem you need to work toward recovery. Attending a WRAP group is a good way to learn self-advocacy skills.

Ten Steps to Being an Effective Self-Advocate

  1. Believe in Yourself.
  2. Know your Rights.
  3. Decide what you Want.
  4. Get the Facts.
  5. Planning Strategy.
  6. Gather Support.
  7. Target Efforts.
  8. Express Yourself Clearly.
  9. Assert Yourself Calmly.
  10. Be Firm and Persistent.

Read More


Having Trouble Sleeping?

There seems to be an epidemic of insomnia in our society. Do you have any of the following sleep problems?

  • You sleep less than eight hours per night
  • You sometimes don’t bother getting up in the morning
  • You awaken often during the night
  • You often have a hard time getting back to sleep if you wake up in the night
  • You often have nights when you sleep very little or don’t sleep at all

Using your Wellness Recovery Action Plan to address your sleep problems will not only help with a restful night, but it will carry over into improved performance during your day.
Following are examples of sleep-related Wellness Tools that you may want to try.  These are only examples, not recommendations.  Adjust them to meet your needs and what you know works for you. 

  • Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning
  • Avoid naps that are longer than twenty minutes
  • Limit intake of caffeine to no more than 2 cups of coffee a day and avoid caffeinated soda

 Read More


Get WRAP for Life


Highly Recommended WRAP Course

I have taken the course Implementing Mental Health Evidence-Based Practices: The Case of Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) and I recommend it highly to anyone who is implementing, has implemented or is considering implementing a WRAP program or any other evidence-based program, and for Advanced Level WRAP Facilitators who might find themselves advocating for WRAP programs, helping to get the program started and insuring its continuance.  

The course gives detailed instructions for implementation that, if followed, insure success. The beginning of the course is more generic, giving the basics of successful implementation, and toward the end it focuses almost exclusively on WRAP. This course would have been of great value to me over the years in my efforts to disseminate WRAP. It would have helped me avoid missteps, those times when I had to back up and take a different track or change the focus of my efforts. Although WRAP has done very well, as I took the course I thought about different ways we could have done things, and how that might have enhanced and eased the process.

This course is eligible for Continuing Education credit for those who need it. At a cost of $5.00, it is the best bargain around. You can access it at http://www.cmhsrp.uic.edu/health/ebp-wrap-course.asp.


Mary Ellen Copeland and her staff cannot address personal mental health problems and issues. We care very much about your concerns but we must focus our efforts on education and resource development. For more information on how to get help for yourself or the people you are supporting, please use the resources on this website.

© 1995-2014 Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD All Rights Reserved