DMHS clients are now participating in a world-renowned program for promoting recovery and preventing relapse, thanks to generous funding from the Central East Local Health Integration.
The program is the Wellness Recovery Action Plan or WRAP. Designed by author, educator, advocate and consumer Mary Ellen Copeland, WRAP helps an individual who experiences mental illness develop his or her own personalized “wellness toolbox” – sets of strategies, strengths and resources to use when things are well, when things are breaking down and during a full-blown crisis.
Each toolbox embodies the five key WRAP concepts: personal responsibility; self-advocacy; education; support; and hope. WRAP graduates report that they feel more empowered to take a strong, active role in maintaining their own optimal health.
We spoke to a participant in DMHS’ current series of WRAP sessions, Angelo. Angelo has found the sessions “informative.”
“The WRAP process is helping me deal with stressors – for example, getting nervous when I’m around people,” Angelo says. “With my WRAP toolbox, I’ve been able to brainstorm ways to handle my nervousness, such as using positive self-talk, deep breathing, keeping my doctor informed about how I’m doing and taking my medication as prescribed.”
DMHS WRAP sessions are facilitated by Peer Support Specialists Sue Cathcart and Lisa Scuse. Sue and Lisa also hosted a series of WRAP information sessions for mental health workers across the Central East region, so that workers could learn about WRAP and thus help clients use their WRAP Toolboxes most effectively.
“One of the great things about WRAP is that it is unique to the person,” Lisa says, “reflecting their personal strengths, preferences, values and goals. Also, since it is done in a group format, everyone has a chance to learn from each other, so there’s a peer support aspect to it too. The feedback has been very good. People are saying they are using their WRAP Toolboxes in their daily lives.”
Looking down the road, Lisa says that “the number one goal is to have as many people taking WRAP and doing their own WRAPs as possible. We would also love to see it become more recognized among service providers. It would be great to see WRAP become an automatic part of service delivery, helping clients help themselves.”
Sue and Lisa expect to begin their next WRAP series in mid-June 2014. For more information about this session, please call Lisa Scuse at 905-666-0831, ext. 3227.