University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Psychiatry
Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy

National Research and Training Center (NRTC)

Project Updates


Mental Illness Self-Management through Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) in Ohio: A Randomized Controlled Trial

The purpose of this UIC NRTC research project is to conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) study of Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) developed by Mary Ellen Copeland and colleagues ( The project will implement an 8-week WRAP group, designed to teach people how to develop their own individualized recovery plan. Each WRAP group will include 8-10 people meeting for two hours each week. Groups will be led by two trained WRAP facilitators who have experience leading WRAP workshops and are in mental health recovery. Facilitators will be paid for leading all WRAP workshops. A two-day training will be held prior to starting the study to educate facilitators about the intervention version of WRAP.

WRAP is a program in which participants identify internal and external resources for facilitating recovery, and then use these tools to create their own, individualized plan for successful living. The creation of a WRAP plan begins with the development of a personal Wellness Toolbox, consisting of simple, safe, and free or low-cost self-management strategies such as a healthy diet, exercise, social support, and leisure time activities. The person then uses this Toolbox to create an individualized plan for establishing and maintaining recovery. Next, "early warning signs" of symptom exacerbation are identified, and participants formulate crisis plans that state how they would like to be treated in times of crisis. Also developed is a post-crisis plan for getting back on the road to recovery. Coursework is interactive, using lecture, question and answer, group discussion, and individual or group exercises.

The proposed RCT will use a research design in which consenting individuals who wish to join a WRAP group will be randomly assigned, with their permission, to one of two conditions. Those in the intervention condition will participate in WRAP immediately. Those in the control condition will be guaranteed participation in a WRAP group at the end of the research phase of the project (after approximately 8 months). Participation in the study will be completely voluntary and will not influence other services or supports received through public or private sectors. Participants will be free to withdraw from the research, WRAP groups, or both at any time without repercussions.

Each study participant will be interviewed three times: at the time of study entry; at the end of the WRAP intervention, and 6 months following the intervention. The study protocol includes measures of recovery, hope, self-confidence, empowerment, self-advocacy, social support, service utilization, and other outcomes to be selected by the project advisory committee. The study will take place over a three-year period with groups located in five regions of the state. All research participants will be compensated for their time in completing the research interviews. A study advisory committee composed primarily of people in recovery (including nationally recognized WRAP experts) will provide input into the study design and assist in interpreting the results.

The UIC CMHSRP is part of the ongoing Education and Research efforts of the UIC Department of Psychiatry

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