Teens: Start The New Year Off With A Plan – Part Two

The first part of this article described a mental health plan that is widely used and highly successful. Usually at the start of a new year, many men, women, and even children are thinking about the year ahead. And this can be especially true if you’ re suffering from a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. If you’ve had mental health symptoms that have disrupted your life in 2014, then perhaps you’d like to continue learning about the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP).


Mary Ellen Copeland developed WRAP for those who were suffering from mental illness and addiction. Today it is a plan that many in the mental health field to help those with challenging symptoms. Sometimes symptoms of depression and anxiety might not seem so challenging but if they get in the way of being able to go to school, finish your schoolwork, or keep a summer job, then they might be getting in the way of living the life you want. And for this reason, you might want to have a plan that helps you stay safe, stable, and happy.


The first part of this article discussed the first three parts of this plan. This article will cover the remaining four parts of WRAP:


  • Identifying Early Warning Signs and an Action Plan: This part of the plan addresses those times when you think you might be sinking into a depression or when you might be cycling into a manic episode, if you’re bipolar. This part of WRAP asks that you identify the early warning signs, those small details in your life that point to possibly experiencing a flair up of your symptoms. It’s not necessarily identifying the circumstances in your life that are triggering –you did this in an earlier part of the plan. Instead, this part of WRAP is asking you to think about what happens when you might be cycling through another episode of mental illness. Along with this, this section of WRAP asks that you come up with an action plan for these times in your life. For instance, you might need to double your sessions with your therapist, make sure your medication is working for you, talk to your parents about what’s going on, etc.


  • Identifying When Things Are Breaking Down and an Action Plan: This section of the plan takes the previous step to a deeper level. Instead of identifying your early warning signs, now you’re being asked to identify when you’re actually breaking down. For example, perhaps you have suicidal thoughts or perhaps you have feelings of being violent towards others. After experiencing your early warning signs, you might be able to identify signs that indicate you are starting to break down. This section of WRAP asks that you list these signs and the action steps you will take to help yourself.


  • Crisis Planning: This section of WRAP asks that you identify those signs that will let others know they need to take over. When things get really bad, you might want someone to make decisions for you, to take care of you, and to take over responsibility for your well being. During a crisis, you might not be able to do this for yourself any longer. For example, if you stop attending school and begin to isolate yourself, that might be a time for your parents to support your mental health. If isolating yourself is a sign that you’re having suicidal thoughts and that depression is really sinking in, then you may want to have your parents or another family member care for you. This part of WRAP asks that you plan ahead for times of crisis. Knowing ahead of time what you’re going to do and the kind of help you need can ease the stress of a crisis for everyone involved.


  • Post Crisis Planning: Lastly, what do you want to happen after a crisis? If you’re depressed, do you want to go into a teen depression rehab facility? Or do you want to be home schooled to avoid conflicts with friends? What will be the healthiest choice to recover from a crisis and support your overall well being?


You can probably tell that WRAP really asks that you think everything through. But if you’re suffering from a mental illness, you can see how it’s worth it! You can see that by making a concise, detailed, and thorough plan, you can stay well in 2015!