Wellness Recovery Action Plans

WRAP is a well known type of Recovery Action Planning, initially developed in America by Mary Ellen Copeland. Research  into the Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) self management tool has reported overwhelmingly positive results. The research, commissioned by the Scottish Recovery Network as part of its drive to share recovery tools, was focussed on the use of WRAP in self-help and mutual support groups. Read more on the Scottish Recovery Website.


Mary Ellen created WRAP in 1997. She has been working with her own recovery from bipolar disorder and other difficulties. She has coped by using her WRAP as she travelled on her journey to better mental health. Through Mary Ellen’s research, she says that the WRAP can work with anyone, not just people with a mental health diagnosis. Mary Ellen says she uses her WRAP Plan consistently and it works for her. When things are starting to go “down the drain”, her partner says “Where’s your WRAP?”

A WRAP is individual for everyone and one person’s WRAP will probably not work for someone else.

The WRAP is a structured system for monitoring uncomfortable and often distressing symptoms and through planned responses, reducing modifying or eliminating those symptoms. The WRAP has sections for responses for others when symptoms have made it impossible for you to continue making decisions.

Anyone can use a WRAP who wants to create positive change in the way you feel or increase your enjoyment of life. This may mean you want to manage certain aspects of your life to decrease the intensity of physical or psychological pain which could be anything from depression to arthritis. You may also wish to increase your level of wellness by decreasing the rate of relapses.

Some people try so hard that they burn out. One way some people respond is to try harder – this is very likely to fail. This is where your WRAP can really help your recovery. If you follow your WRAP plan, you will notice that feelings you have felt and that indicated you were burned out will begin to abate. If the feelings don’t get better then you may need to change your plans, seek help from a supporter or try a new tool from the toolbox you will have created.


There are three stages to a WRAP:

  • Daily Maintenance Plan – This section looks at ways to stay well on a daily basis and looks at things you can do to help yourself, not necessarily every day; triggers, early warning signs and identifying a potential crisis;
  • Crisis Plan – This section looks at what you are like when you are well; symptoms, supporters, medication, treatments; what others can do to help you; when the plan is not needed and what to do if you are in danger;
  • Post Crisis Plan – This section looks at when the section should be used; post recovery supporters; leaving hospital, what you need to do, people to thank, apologise or make amends to; signs your recovery may not be going to plan and what can be done to help yourself; medical, legal and financial issues; timetable for resuming responsibilities; what you learned from your crisis and what changes need to be made to your plans.


The WRAP should be created on an individual basis. Each WRAP is individual and only for the person who wrote it. There isn’t an off the shelf WRAP as each plan is unique and for the individual who created it.

The WRAP should be created at a time when you are feeling reasonably well. Don’t create it too quickly, take your time and talk to people, gather ideas and thoughts before writing your plan.

If you are supporting someone writing their WRAP plan, do just that, support, don’t lead, tell or write the plan for someone. You should be there to offer ideas and suggestions ensuring that the individual makes the decisions and creates the plan for themselves.

A WRAP can be writen, typed or recorded as the individual prefers.

WRAP Resources


Personal Workbook (pdf, 27 pages)

Personal Workbook (MS Word, 27 pages)

Personal Workbook – A5 (pdf, 16 folded A4 pages)

WRAP related booklets developed in Devon

Feeling Stressed, Keeping Well – Mindful Employer Workbook (pdf, 17 pages)

Maintaining Wellbeing, A Self Help Guide (pdf, 17 pages)

Maintaining Wellbeing, A Self Help Guide – A5 (pdf, 8 folded A4 pages)

Managing Stress & Feeling Good – A5 (pdf, 7 folded A4 pages)

Presentations on WRAP

Update on WRAP Based Activities in Devon – Laurie Davidson – 2006 (pdf, 4 pages)

Introduction to WRAP – Richard Brabrook – 2006 (MS PPoint, 14 slides)

WRAP Presentation – Richard Brabrook – 2006 (MS PPoint, 26 slides)

The experience of Support Time and Recovery workers in promoting WRAP – Laura Hill, Glenn Roberts and Glenn Roberts – 2009 (pdf, 16 pages)

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