Care & Treatments

01 August, 2017

What is WRAP®?

The word "recovery" is highlighted in a dictionary, with snippets of its definition of "a return to an orginal state" showing underneath.

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan programme is a recovery-focused approach to mental health care and treatment.

Mental health recovery has now become the key organising principle underlying mental health services globally.

In Ireland, mental health policy emphasises the need to have the recovery model perspective endorsed at every level of mental health service delivery. Central to recovery-orientated practices is the shift from service-led to consumer-led initiatives. This emphasises the crucial importance of the person’s own voice and their quality of life as judged by the person who experiences mental health difficulties.

One method of incorporating the recovery principles into practice is through the use of self-management methods, such as the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) programme. Central to WRAP® is the belief that people with mental health difficulties can recover, and it shifts the focus of interventions from health professionals to the service user. In that sense, WRAP® fits ideally into the current mental health policy and practice, which emphasises service user involvement as the person learns to manage their illness by acknowledging their problems, taking action and making choices.

What is WRAP®?

WRAP® was developed in the United States (US) in 1997, by Mary Ellen Copeland. This is a structured, individualised plan for monitoring uncomfortable and distressing symptoms. Through planned responses, the person is able to reduce, modify or eliminate those symptoms. The activities involved in developing this plan help the person to focus on their strengths, which gives them a strong sense of personal responsibility and empowerment (Copeland, 2002).

Here at St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS), the WRAP® programme follows the logical structure devised by Mary Ellen Copeland.  The inpatient service user recovery programme is directed at inpatient mental health service users and will commence as soon as the person is admitted. It aims to educate each person by allowing them to self-monitor their mental health using their WRAP® plan and to address factors that may impede or support their recovery. The main emphasis of the recovery programme is the creation of the person's own Wellness and Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®).

The person may not complete their WRAP® as an inpatient, but we encourage the person to attend our day services programme as an outpatient, where WRAP® is delivered as part of the day programme. Ward-based WRAP® groups are facilitated by trained nursing staff twice weekly on the service user's own ward and last approximately one hour. Nursing staff also support the development of WRAP® plans in one to one sessions.

For more on WRAP®, see this short video by Mary Ellen Copeland.