Wellness Recovery Action Plan was created by Mary Ellen Copeland and a team of volunteer patients from the USA. It is comprehensive program to enable to user to build a plan to suite themselves. It is designed to look at what can trigger a period or mental unstably and have in plan in place to cope with such situations. It claims to be:
‘A system for monitoring, reducing, and eliminating uncomfortable or dangerous physical and emotional difficulties’
The plan can be broken into several steps:
Developing a Wellness Toolbox
This is a list of things you have done in the past, or could do, to help yourself stay well. Also things you could do to help yourself feel better e.g. go to the cinema or take a warm bath.
Daily Maintenance Plan
Make a list of things that you do daily that make you feel good. Use these to create a program to check against when things start slipping, thus allowing you to identify when you’re not feeling well.
Look back at previous times when you have been unstable and look at moments before the episode started. For example illness or being told how to run your life.
Early Warning Signs
List your early warning signs such as forgetfulness and increased irritability.
When you have created these lists, you can work together to create your plan. Using the daily maintenance plan and wellness toolbox, you can put into action a plan for your day to day life that with help to support your mental health. When you have all this in place, you can work on a plan to deal with when you start to feel unstable or on edge.
This can done by using the lists of triggers, early warning signs and again using the wellness toolbox. You can look at your triggers and use the wellness toolbox to put in place a counterbalance care strategy so you can combat the negative effects of your trigger. The same can be put in place when you notice the early warning signs. The idea being that you have in place a system of care that can actioned when needed.
For further reading, please look at you local NHS web page for support.
Words: Steph Warren