This is blog 9 of a series of 10 blogs on this topic. What are our hopes for the future when it comes to mental health challenges? How do we define wellness? We look at redefining mental illness as a mental health challenge, an area of wellness to be regained, versus an illness to be treated. How can people get benefits from Recovery Innovations International (RI)? RI has a web page at www.recoveryinnovations.org. Recovery Innovations now is in Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Washington State, Australia, Scotland, New Zealand, and England.
Part of the vision of Recovery Innovations says, “Our team envisions a future in which people have opportunities to pursue happiness, to prevent and reduce early mortality and to achieve a full life in the community with open access to a range of recovery and wellness services, supports and resources. We intentionally role model ‘I am the evidence of recovery’ by being and bringing our very best to our work.”
We’ve been sharing some thoughts and experiences of peer counselors J, K, M, R and Y, working with Recovery Innovations Arizona (RIAZ), both as participants in the system and as coaches helping others. The WRAP program through RIAZ makes a difference in peoples’ lives.
J describes how WRAP is used as part of a support group. Everybody can share whatever it is that they are going through. “One individual may say, ‘Hey, I was experiencing that. That’s what I went through.’ It can help them also. Everybody’s comfortable sharing their experience or whatever it is that they may be experiencing that day.” R adds, “I can share something that works for me. Maybe someone else will say, ‘Yeah, I can try that. Maybe that will work for me.’ That’s the kind of thing that happens when you do it in a group.”
It’s important for people living in a family system or relationship to share their WRAP plan and having others involved in helping them identify warning signs and triggers. M admits, “You want to have a trusted person to do that. You want to choose someone that you can trust before you share.” Y includes, “You want to have somebody who’s going to support you in a time of crisis if that happens to be the situation. I have a Mental Health Power of Attorney. If he sees signs of me having some challenges, he will let me know and we will work together on what to do about the situation rather than fight the system. At the same time, this person’s going to work with me so I get the help I really need at that particular time.”
The WRAP program is the crisis plan. For instance, what medications must be avoided? Y explains, “You have to really trust that supporter person that you’re sharing your experiences with because you want them to respect what you are saying. You have choices.” It’s similar to a Medical Power of Attorney for a medical illness, on what a patient wants done as far as management of their care and health when they are unable to do it for themselves or talk verbally about what they need for themselves. K adds, “What hospitals to avoid, to what medications the person may be allergic, a lot of different things.” In the next blog, we’ll optimistically describe the future of wellness!