How to live well with mental ill-health


How to live well with mental ill-health

WRAP Part One – So you have a diagnosis of mental illness of some kind. What happens next? It is likely that you will be offered medication and some kind of Talking Therapy – which is great. But what about living your actual LIFE?

This was the question that a group of people with mental health problems asked themselves and everyone they knew around 20 years ago in America. After many months of sorting through their research, they came up with what we now know as Wellness Recovery Action Planning or WRAP as it is known. I want to emphasise here that this was very much a grass roots “up” approach rather than coming from the top “down”.  It was people living with a mental health condition who thought about what they needed to support them, what plans they needed to make for the difficult times and how they could support each other.

Mary Ellen Copeland emerged as the leader of this group and the Copeland Center was set up in America where it has flourished ever since. They have amassed a lot of research evidence of the efficacy of the WRAP and how it has changed people’s lives. A big part of its ethos is that WRAP is delivered by facilitators who have experienced their own mental health issues. for more information.
Workshops are usually facilitated by 2 people and to build a WRAP around 6 sessions will be required. It is a big piece of work, very enjoyable to do and is then a “living document” for the person to constantly update as new things are learned.

The point of a WRAP is for people to discover what keeps them well, the plans they need to put in place for dealing with any triggers or events that affect them, and to remain curious about how they can help themselves and be helped by others – what works for them as an individual.
This is all contained in a WRAP plan document – although there are online versions too, and many people are very creative in how they record all their information and plans – it is entirely down to the person how they prepare their WRAP.

A well prepared WRAP plan can REALLY help keep people well. It can reduce the number of crises, and gives a lot of hope to the person that their life can be better. It should also be part of their conversations with health care professionals – with whom it can be shared if the person wants this. It has a lot of benefit for the Crisis Team to have a copy as they can really tailor their responses to what the person has identified as being helpful (when they were well). So instead of the general suggestions – have a bath, go for a walk, – they can suggest things from the persons personal “wellness toolbox”.  If you have not been in a mental health crisis you may wonder why this is needed – if the person has the plan they can access the information themselves – but in a crisis a person is likely to be unable to make use of the WRAP and needs others to step in to help – this is all part of the WRAP Plan.

If you would like to know more about how WRAP can help you contact Anne-Marie at or 07963 733 328

Would you like training for your group or organisation? Contact us for details.

Next time ……. What are the parts that make up a WRAP plan??

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