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Tia Burroughs Clayton, MSS
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Alyson Ferguson, MPH
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Derrick M. Gordon, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Wellness Recovery Action Plan for College Students

Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition

Wellness Recovery Action Plan for College Students Logo

Program Website
Winner Status:
Program Type:
Target Population:
Transition-Aged Youth

Program Description

The program we are proposing is one that will integrate the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) into college communities either as an extracurricular offering or a credited course within the school’s class offerings. WRAP has been adapted for use by many different populations for an array of challenges, however it has not yet been widely used to assist in one of the most difficult transitions a person goes through, that from high school student to college student. It is known that the age of onset for many mental health challenges is late teens to early 20s. The exact time young adults are making this difficult transition in their lives. It is our belief that offering this evidence-based, valuable tool to individuals as they enter college will help increase retention rates and reduce incidents of mental health challenges among the students. Furthermore, by speaking openly and honestly about mental health challenges overall stigma will be reduced as well. It is recognized that the reasons students leave school are varied, but the WRAP can be used as a tool to combat two of the largest challenges, those of a mental health challenge or stress and financial difficulties.


As stated in the Program Description the Wellness Recovery Action Plan is an evidence based tool that has worked effectively for diverse populations in addressing a wide range of challenges even beyond mental health. However, it has not been adapted for use on college campuses to address the issue of overall student health, success, and retention. This proposal is original in its attempt to creatively use an established tool with a new and underserved population when it comes to wellness tools and their mental wellness at one of their most vulnerable points in life. Beyond the challenge of maintaining one’s mental wellness at a very vulnerable time, many college students are also tasked with being financially responsible for the first time in their lives. This can add even more stress to an already very stressful time. The WRAP can be utilized to help in this area as well.


The Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition is made up of leaders in recovery and Certified Peer Specialist services throughout the state of Pennsylvania. We are committed to expanding the program both through our own efforts and by sharing our work with others by providing technical assistance, knowledge, and resources to all who are interested in replicating the program.


Once the program is established and we can build a repository of data showing the effectiveness of the program we believe the colleges themselves will be willing to sustain the program based on increased retention and overall student wellness.


The Wellness Recovery Action Plan is already an established tool. The challenge in this program is working out the details of how to deliver it to the student body at the colleges and universities. Once the program is established at a small number of schools replicating it to fit the structure and culture of other schools will be fairly easy.


Outcomes will be tracked by following the students who compete their own Wellness Recovery Action Plan and comparing them to other students who do not complete a WRAP. By doing this we will be able to track if there is a significant difference in retention of those who have completed it. Furthermore, staying in touch with the students who complete one to track their overall feelings of wellness and support will be important.