Geared toward the supporters of those with mental illness, the LEAP® Course, created by Dr. Xavier Amador (I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help) helps persons with mental illness that are either non-adherent, or only partially adherent and who are in denial of their illness, become fully engaged in treatment and services (medication, psychotherapy, psychosocial programs, peer-support, supervised housing, etc.) and to cooperate with persons who are trying to help them (with accepting treatment and services and/or in law enforcement/corrections settings, with de-escalation and following requests/directions).

The LEAP® Course is completed over the course of one day and involves didactic, experiential, and role-play workshops. The workshops are unique in that the same evidence-based practices are taught to:

  • MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDERS (psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, psychologists, case managers, crisis workers, consumer peer counselors, occupational therapists, etc.)
  • FAMILY CAREGIVERS AND FRIENDS (of persons with mental illness)
  • And others involved in the care and safety of people suffering from severe mental illness.

WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan)

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) is a personalized wellness and recovery system born out of and rooted in the principle of self-determination. WRAP® is a wellness and recovery approach that helps people to:

  1. Decrease and prevent intrusive or troubling feelings and behaviors 

  2. Increase personal empowerment 

  3. Improve quality of life

  4. Achieve their own life goals and dreams

Working with a WRAP® can help individuals to monitor uncomfortable and distressing feelings and behaviors and, through planned responses, reduce, modify, or eliminate those feelings. A WRAP® also includes plans for responses from others when an individual cannot make decisions, take care of him/herself, and/or keep him/herself safe.

The person who experiences symptoms is the one who develops their personal WRAP. The person may choose to have supporters and health care professionals help them create their WRAP, but the individual remains in control of the process. Individuals learn to use WRAP® through a peer-led and peer-engaged group process. Formal WRAP® groups typically range in size from 10 to 15 participants and are led by two trained co-facilitators who are peers who use WRAP for their own recovery. Information is delivered and skills are developed through lectures, discussions, and individual and group exercises. Key WRAP® concepts and values are illustrated through examples from the lives of the co-Facilitators and participants.

WRAP® participants create a personalized recovery system of wellness tools and action plans to achieve a self-directed wellness vision despite life’s daily challenges. Participants are encouraged, and when possible, assisted to continue meeting after the formal 8 to12 week period has ended and to support each other in using and continuously revising their WRAP® plans. A person’s WRAP® is a tool that can be used for a lifetime, and a voluntary WRAP® group can be a long-term peer support resource for ensuring that this valuable and personalized recovery system remains sharp and useful for building a healthy and successful life in the community.

The key to ensuring that recipients of behavioral health services receive the full benefit of using WRAP® is for the leaders and participants in behavioral health organizations to better understand and incorporate the ethics, values, and practices that Mary Ellen Copeland, the Copeland Center, and the grassroots practitioners of WRAP® have established.

In 2010, WRAP® was recognized by the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as an evidence- based practice and listed in the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) released the results of a rigorous study that demonstrated significantly positive behavioral health outcomes for individuals with severe and persistent mental health challenges who participated in peer-led WRAP® groups. Research studies on WRAP® from UIC cited that positive outcomes were tied to the fidelity of the WRAP® facilitation model designed by Mary Ellen Copeland and developed by the Copeland Center.