And that’s a W.R.A.P.

Sun, 12/19/2021 - 7:15am

Last Tuesday, on December 7, Danielle Stewart and Erin Goodman from Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds and Washington County Zero Suicide traveled to Block island to host the first Wellness Recovery Action Plan program at the Island Free Library from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The W.R.A.P. program is sponsored by the Block Island Medical Center; NAMI-Block Island; the Island Free Library; Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds; and Washington County Zero Suicide.

The program originated in 1977, in northern Vermont, when a group of people came together (a majority of whom were past patients in psychiatric hospitals), to work with each other to help one another improve their mental health and overall wellness. Mary Ellen Copeland, one who struggles with mental health herself, was an original member of the group and ended up working with a fellow member, Jane Winterling, to come up with the W.R.A.P. plan and program.
Goodman, a peer recovery specialist, led the two-hour meeting. Goodman comes out to the island once a month to work at the medical center and her goal is, “To try to help the islanders not just as themselves but as a community.” Stewart helped lead conversations and gave out directions throughout the meeting. Stewart has traveled to the island in the past to hold in-person QPR trainings at the Island Free Library.
The W.R.A.P program is a self-designed plan that can be used as a lifetime tool. ”You are the expert of you. You’ve spent your entire life living as you...W.R.A.P comes as a personal responsibility,” Goodman said.

The program started off with a welcoming chat where the group leaders and attendees shared a little about themselves and what brought them to the W.R.A.P meeting. “During the meeting, the group will identify your wellness goals and tools, develop an action plan to stay on track, and build a
support system to help maintain wellness,” Goodman said. The session then went on to an introduction about what the W.R.A.P program is and its history. The leaders then led a “check-in” for everyone in the group, which consisted of each attendee explaining why they were there and what they’re looking to get out of the program.
There was a break in the midst of the program and group members were provided with snacks, social time, and a variety of mental health related books to browse. The focus of Tuesday’s discussion was one’s wellness during the holiday season and how to take care of yourself with the different “layers” one deals with, including things like personal stress and the ongoing pandemic. Handouts were passed around with wellness tools to specifically support what one can do for themselves during the holidays.
Afterwards, the group came together to write up a list of wellness tools; each attendee had the opportunity to create their own personalized list.

Goodman also centered on the importance of the island as a community. “The islanders are experts on Block Island’s community. The needs and strengths are different here.”
There are two more W.R.A.P sessions including one on January 4, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. (which will be in the context of the new year) and another longer one to be planned in February.

“Mini sessions in December and January are designed to generate excitement and interest for the February W.R.A.P retreat. Also to provide connection, support, helpful information, and resources that relate to the season,” Goodman said. Anyone is welcome.