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Home » Helpful Resources » W.R.A.P.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan

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Wellness   Recovery   Action    Plan*

Excerpted and adapted from Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD



What is WRAP?

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) is a system of self help tools.  It helps you to take charge of your life and treatment by identifying ways that help you stay well, to recognize and reduce uncomfortable and distressing symptoms when they occur.  WRAP teaches recovery and self-management skills.  It includes figuring out ways that others (people you choose to be in your support system) can help when things start going down-hill.  This system was developed by people who have been dealing with a wide variety of psychiatric and physical symptoms for many years and are working hard to recover.

WRAP is meant to complement other treatment scenarios, and assist people in achieving levels of wellness, stability, and recovery they always hoped were possible.


Who can use WRAP?

WRAP can be useful to anyone who wants to create positive change in the way they feel, or to increase their enjoyment of life.  It can be effective in managing psychiatric disorders, emotional problems, substance abuse and physical pain; with problems such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, fibromyalgia and the enormous stress of caring for an ill relative.


How does WRAP work?

Through careful observation a person discovers the things they need to do every day to stay well, external events that may make them feel badly, early warning signs that let them know they are not feeling well, and signs that let them know they are feeling much worse. With this knowledge and by using the Wellness Tools they identified for themselves,  a person is able to develop a Wellness Recovery Action Plan that will help them feel well more often and move forward with their recovery.


Five core principles of the WRAP program are:

HopeThe first reach for life enhancing change

Self ResponsibilityRecognition that change begins with you

EducationLearning how to get what YOU want

Self AdvocacyEffectively and responsibly using your resources to GO FOR IT!

Support – A network of helpers to assist you along the way



Key Components

§  The WRAP / Wellness Toolbox

These are activities that you enjoy or that help you feel better; that you may have used in the past or would like to use in the future. Some of them are simple things like getting together with a friend or taking your dog for a walk. Your list may be short to start and then get longer as you discover more and more things that help you feel better. You can keep these tools handy to maintain your wellness or to help you feel better when you are stressed or not feeling well.

§  Daily Maintenance Plan

A daily maintenance plan helps you recognize those things which you need to do to remain healthy, and then to plan your days accordingly. Also, when things have been going well for a while and you notice you are starting to feel worse, it’s important to have a place to remind you of what you did to feel better.

§  Triggers

Triggers are external events or circumstances that, if they happen, may produce symptoms. These symptoms may make you feel like you are getting ill. These are normal reactions to events in our lives in some way. They may actually cause a worsening in your symptoms.  The awareness of things that trigger us and the development of plans to deal with triggering events can increase our ability to cope. Having this awareness can help us avoid the development of an acute onset of more severe symptoms.

§  Early Warning Signs

Early warning signs are internal and may be unrelated to reactions to stressful situations. In spite of our efforts to reduce symptoms, you may begin to experience early warning signs. Subtle signs of change can indicate you may need to take some further actions. Reviewing early warning signs regularly helps you to become more aware of them, allowing you to take action before your symptoms worsen.

§  When Things begin Breaking Down

Your symptoms may progress to the point where they are very uncomfortable, serious and even dangerous. Even at this stage, you are still able to take some action on your own behalf. This is a very important time. It is necessary to take immediate action to prevent a crisis.

§  Crisis Planning

A crisis plan needs to be developed when you are feeling well. Noticing and responding to symptoms early reduces the chances that you will find yourself in crisis. It is important to confront the possibility of crisis. With the best planning and assertive action, you could still find yourself in a situation where others will need to take over responsibilities for your care. This is a difficult situation, one that no one likes to face. In a crisis you may feel like you are totally out of control.

A clear crisis plan can instruct others about how to care for you when you are not well.  It allows you to have a role about your own care. It will keep your family members and friends from wasting time trying to figure out what to do for you that will be helpful. It allows your input.

Typical Cycle of Crisis

Onset of Symptoms

An individual can experience a multitude of indicators that their symptoms are increasing.

Without WRAP, symptoms can move quickly to Crisis.


Using WRAP can decrease the cycle of a Crisis by offering more opportunities to take preventive action

Daily Maintenance




Early Warning Signs


When things are Breaking Down






  • There are many resources (books, DVDs, workbooks etc) available about W.R.A.P. including books aimed at different age groups, diagnosis and varied personal experiences (e.g veterans).


We encourage you to take a look: http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/

Local WRAP groups are operated by PEERS (Peers Envisioning & Engaging in Recovery Services) and the calendar with links to specific information can be found at http://www.peersnet.org/calendar.


  • FERC also has many of these available to check out at no charge – through our resource libraries – located at various sites throughout Alameda County. Please call 1-888-896-3372 to inquire.

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