It is said that all good actions begin with best-laid plans; and so it is with self-care. Although even the best plans often go awry as another expression claims, it’s better for one to have made plans and anticipated responses and consequences than to have not planned at all. Therein lies the basis of self-care and response to crisis as designed by the Copeland Center and its popularly expanding Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) movement. With certified facilitators, WRAP workshops are now regularly scheduled and repeated consumer independent living skills trainings at Summit.
WRAP began as a self-motivated strategical process of preparation for the nearly inevitable mental health crisis often experienced by those with diagnoses. Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD of Vermont was raised in a family and environment plagued with mental health issues. She herself was diagnosed and struggled with such conditions as anxiety, depression, and extreme mood swings. Nonetheless, she found ways to appropriately address those conditions and recognize that she experienced some good times and some bad times with symptoms even under best conditions. Mental health management is known to be cyclical and people often inevitably experience crises intermittently. Ms. Copeland’s discovery as agreed upon by others is that an individual can learn to identify key aspects of his or her life, draw on supports, and develop a plan to establish and maintain optimal wellness or achieve goals.
With this revelation, Mary Ellen Copeland worked with others and found a way to maintain health and wellness for themselves which enabled them to live happier and more productive lives. After further exploration, a number of others recognized similarities in their journeys. In 1997, several dozen people including Ms. Copeland came together in Vermont for eight days to specify those similarities. The result was the beginning of what has since become known as WRAP. WRAP is now an internationally known, evidence-based process of self-discovery through which one relies on hope, personal responsibility, education, self-advocacy, and supports in planning for times of crisis and thereby more effectively deals with them if and when they do occur. Since then, WRAP has been modified to many situations including: WRAP for life, peer support, trauma, addictions, fibromyalgia, and more. It’s also been adapted for specific populations including: families, kids, teens, youth, couples, veterans, people with developmental distinctions, and others.
Nearly three years ago several Summit staff members from the Missoula and Ronan offices were trained and became certified WRAP facilitators. Since offering a WRAP workshop requires two certified co-facilitators, workshops have since only been offered in the Missoula office. However, due to a training grant from Montana AMDD, several other Summit staff members are currently taking training and will be certified facilitators by the end of this month. Starting in September, WRAP workshops will be offered at least through the Hamilton, Missoula, and Ronan offices with plans to expand further.
If you are interested in a WRAP workshop for you or to which to refer someone you know, please watch or listen for upcoming announcements or keep an eye on the Summit IL website. Feel free to contact Summit directly to learn more about WRAP and/or to ask about or preregister for upcoming workshops. We look forward to expanding these workshops to other counties and to having more participants!