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Reviewer: Dr Jeremy Steinberg, GP Date of review: December 2019 Comments: The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) programme, first designed in 1997, is a peer-based group programme designed to help people with mental illness build a pathway to recovery. The programme uses hope, personal responsibility, education, self-advocacy and support. There are 6 self-management systems – wellness toolbox, daily maintenance plan, stressors, early warning signs, plan for when things are breaking down and a crisis plan.
It is regarded as evidence based and has a small impact on improving self-perceived recovery but has no effect on reducing symptoms.There is some precedent for use in New Zealand.2,3
Overall, the Wellness Recovery Action Plan programme, and by extension the app, is not a panacea, but it may be helpful for some people. Users and clinicians recommending the app should be aware that the programme is designed to be group based with 8–10 weekly sessions with a facilitator. Therefore, its usefulness would depend on what is available in the user’s area and what level of support they are able to access. There may be organisations in the user’s area where they may be able access these groups, such as Ember Korowai Takitini in Auckland.
WRAP only has modest benefits when used with guidance from a facilitator in a peer-based structured programme, which is the context in which it has been studied. Therefore, I would be surprised if there was any benefit in using the app in isolation and outside of that context, except perhaps for the most motivated and health-literate users. The app has no features to increase engagement.
It would be great to see technology being leveraged to its full potential and have virtual weekly sessions to allow more independent use for those who aren't able to access the proper programme. At present, the app is little more than a templated digital notebook.
Safety concerns: None New Zealand relevance: Relevant to New Zealand users.