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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness
Work and mental health 

Developing a Wellness and Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) or Advance Statement

The WRAP helps your patient to think about what s/he needs to keep well at work, how to identify the signs or triggers for ill-health, what to do if a crisis occurs and how to get back on track after a crisis.

One approach to managing a health condition which fluctuates is for your patient to develop a Wellness and Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) with your help.  


Some organisations like Rethink and the Employers’ Forum on Disability are supportive of the idea that all staff, whether they have a mental health problem or not, would benefit from developing a WRAP and this would be one way of reducing the stigma attached to mental ill-health.  

Links to resources:

Realising ambitions: Better employment support for people with a mental health condition

Rachel Perkins, Paul Farmer and Paul Litchfield

Department for Work and Pensions, December 2009

This review was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to look at mental health and employment and to identify how Government could help people with mental health conditions fulfil their employment ambitions.  Appendix 6 includes suggestions for what a WRAP for work might contain.  The review also includes an example of the strategies that some people have found effective in managing their mental health condition at work. 


Rethink - Working it out

This booklet was developed for line managers and includes how to develop a WRAP including 6 key sections Daily maintenance plan, triggers, early warning signs, when things are breaking down, crisis plan and towards recovery. Appendix A of the report includes an example of a WRAP developed by a former member of Rethink staff.


Think Twice

Think Twice is a campaign by SANE and is supported by two complementary handbooks for 

These handbooks are intended to aid communication between patients and the mental health team. The Think Twice service user handbook provides a step-by-step guide to understanding, identifying, and where possible, preventing relapse. Drawing on the research findings that many users of the dedicated website contributed to, the handbook aims to play a key role in the management of your condition by providing simple and practical advice. As each person's experience of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is different the handbook also provides patients with a 'tool' to record key information to help develop personalised steps for dealing with relapse.


Feeling stressed: Keeping well

This workbook is available through the Mindful Employer initiative.  It is based on elements of the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) originally developed by Mary Ellen Copeland and a group of mental health service users who wanted to work on their own recovery. It is a practical tool to help people with mental health problems to gain more control over problems or difficulties you may encounter as a result of stress caused by workload, relationships with colleagues, outside work pressures or other issues.


Health and Safety Executive

These pages are aimed at employers and contain useful information on good practice.  There is a link to a ‘Return to work questionnaire’ which may help you to identify the demands which may have exacerbated your patient’s illness, the support and changes you could discuss as part of the patient’s return to work.

There are also links to sources of advice and help when returning to work


Fit for Work Services

Fit for Work Services help people to stay in or return to work more quickly after illness or when they develop a health condition or impairment.  There are a number of schemes around the UK run by case managers who work to ensure that clients receive appropriate support on time.  The scheme is guaranteed to run until March 2011. 


Health Work Wellbeing

Health, Work and Well-being is a cross-Government initiative to protect and improve the health and well-being of working age people. It includes case studies, links and resources.  The case studies are particularly useful in providing ideas on working with employees and employers to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace.  


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Work and mental health for clinicians

Work is a key clinical outcome

Working together to support people recovering from mental ill health at work

Developing and supporting a return to work plan