This is an account of Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) training in East Texas by Stephany Bryan, program officer at the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and mental health consumer. WRAP is a tool that empowers mental health consumers to identify what makes and keeps them well. It shifts the focus of wellness from symptom control to prevention and recovery.

There have been times in my life when I have experienced pride and honor that left me with the solid feeling of fulfillment. One of these key times happened in February of this year at the WRAP facilitator training in Nacogdoches, Texas. I had the honor of spending five days with 24 of the most incredible people.

The members of this group are part of the East Texas Coalition for Mental Health Recovery. The coalition was created with a grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and consists of consumers of mental health services representing five local mental health centers and one state hospital.

The growth, leadership and hope that I have experienced with this group is more powerful than I have ever experienced before. Throughout the past year, coalition members and other consumers from their communities have had a variety of recovery-focused learning opportunities made possible through the coalition.

Last year, a three-day WRAP training was offered to members of the coalition; 27 attended. WRAP is a tool that supports the monitoring, reduction and, often times, elimination of uncomfortable or dangerous physical and emotional difficulties. At the completion of the three-day training, the participating coalition members were asked how many had the desire to become WRAP facilitators. A WRAP facilitator is someone who guides the WRAP process for individuals and groups. Six participants raised their hand.

Last month, the coalition offered the first training session to become a WRAP facilitator to those individuals. The original six that raised their hand in the first session attended the training as well as 15 additional people from last year’s training. The number far exceeded our expectations. The five-day training was intense and empowering.

WRAP Facilitator Graduation

East Texas now has 21 trained WRAP facilitators thanks to the sessions. Each trained WRAP facilitator has committed to a series of three trainings lasting three days each. The trainings will be offered in East Texas and are available to consumers, peers, clinicians, directors, administrators and anyone else who has an interest in mental health recovery.

I am proud and honored to have the opportunity to share the experience of recovery, leadership and hope with these amazing folks. Witnessing the progress of the coalition and the personal growth of each member over the past year has been a joyful experience.

Recovery is alive and well in East Texas.