WRAP provides peer to peer support
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 01:02
Peralta Community College District has received a $320,000 grant to start a mental health education program with services for students from the Alameda County Behavioral Health Services Agency.
The grant has already funded Merritt College’s program, “From Street Smarts 2 School Smarts,” coordinated by Mental Health Services interns Will Brown and Ronald Moss, who compiled a workbook and manual specifically for the service.
According to a Merritt College press release, goals for the program include “...creation of a network of trained student para-professionals who will conduct support groups and offer one-on-one peer consultation to students...developing a campus-based social media campaign to reduce social media stigma and promote awareness of mental health issues....and...conducting workshops for students, faculty and staff to promote a ‘culture of wellness.’”
Laney College’s own program, entitled “W.R.A.P.,” which stands for Wellness Recovery Action Plan, launched Feb. 11.
The service is overseen by new faculty member site supervisor Dr. Jacinda Marshall, a licensed clinical psychologist who practices in San Francisco. However, “W.R.A.P.” meetings will be led by Peer Support Specialists Brian Cervantes, Angel Cortes and Tuyet Tan, who have all been trained in the nationally recognized peer counseling model, also entitled the Wellness Recovery Action Plan, as well as training on Peralta Community College District policies and procedures.
“These ‘W.R.A.P’ groups…it’s an evidence-based program that the students have worked and learned and work with other students on,” said Marshall at the Jan. 22 Peralta Board of Trustees meeting.
Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, developed the “W.R.A.P” model after she started studying mental health issues in young people and compiled years of research. Her work was recognized in 1992 as part of the “Depression Workbook” and since then “W.R.A.P.” has gained in popularity for the program’s holistic and universal approach to health.
The “W.R.A.P.” brochure states that the program is a “peer to peer support to help any Peralta student deal with stress, situations, and life events so that [the participant] can succeed as a student.” W.R.A.P. is unique in this way as it is not a one-on-one counseling session and students are advised that their “experience(s) may sculpt [their] definition of W.R.A.P.”
Students who wish to participate in the program can volunteer. Some students may be referred to the program if they have a history of anger management problems or disciplinary occurrences.
“This semester we’ll be having three ‘W.R.A.P.’ groups at the Laney Campus as well as five to six individual peer-to-peer drop in individual meetings,” said Marshall.
“W.R.A.P.” sessions begin the week of Feb. 11 on Mondays from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m.; Tuesdays from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m.; and Wednesdays from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. The sessions are held at the Laney College Student Center in room 401-A, which is accessible by elevator. It is free and open to all Peralta colleges students.
For questions, comments, or concerns, contact site supervisor for the Peer Support Specialist Mental Health Grant Dr. Jacinda Marshall, Psy. D, at email@example.com.