Ulysses Agreement – planning for support

A Ulysses Agreement is a voluntary process that is used by a person that has a mental illness or mental health concern.  The plan outlines to others what they should and should not do to support the children and the parent/s. It also allows the parent to plan how their children will be cared for should they relapse and be temporally unable to care for their children.  The wellness part of the plan uses components of the Wellness Recovery Plan (WRAP) as designed by Mary Ellen Copeland.  A wellness plan outlines what a person does everyday to be the healthiest they can be.

How to make one:

Here is a form, in Microsoft Word document format, which you can use to make a Ulysses Agreement. You can click on the following link to download this form.

Please select the version that fits best with the software you will use to open it below:

Mark Littlefield, MA is a BCSS contractor who works with families and professionals within the Fraser region (Boston Bar, Hope, Agassiz, Mission, Abbotsford, Langley, White Rock & Surrey) of The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) – Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH).

Mark works free of charge with parents, family members and/or professionals that want to help strengthen families by building an effective plan (Ulysses Agreement) for both parent/s and child/ren.  The child/ren in the family must be under 19 years of age as this program is funded by MCFD – CYMH and is one aspect of their overall prevention focus for supporting families with parental mental illness. To contact Mark for further information please call – (604) 832-0705 or email mlittlefield@nullbcss.org.

For information and resources concerning working with children and families effected by mental health concerns click on the following link www.copmi.net.au

If you are outside of the Fraser Region and would like further information about supporting families with mental health concerns please call Mark at (604) 832-0705.  If you would like more information about other services offered by BCSS in the Fraser Region click here.

A booklet explaining Ulysses agreements is available by clicking here.

The text below explains what a Ulysses agreement is and what it is used for.

What is a Ulysses Agreement?

A Ulysses Agreement is a voluntary process that is used by a person that has a mental illness or mental health concern.  The plan outlines to others what they should and should not do to support the children and the parent/s. It also allows the parent to plan how their children will be cared for should they relapse and be temporally unable to care for their children.  The wellness part of the plan uses components of the Wellness Recovery Plan (WRAP) as designed by Mary Ellen Copeland.  A wellness plan outlines what a person does everyday to be the healthiest they can be.

The Ulysses Agreement is designed so that parents with the mental health concern can build a support team (professional & non-professional) that will meet the family’s needs during times of struggle therefore meeting the safety needs of children.  This means that it reduces the need for child welfare organization to become involved with the family.

Ulysses Agreement can be designed for children, youth and adult needs as well.  This particular designed meets parent’s needs.

This document is meant to be a guide.  A good Ulysses Agreement is always unique to the person developing it.  Feel free to adapt and change it as you need.

Why the name Ulysses Agreement

In Greek mythology Odysseus or Ulysses was a king.  In the story of Ulysses it tells of a challenge he was required to accomplish. The Gods had told Ulysses that if he wished for his men and himself to make it home safely that he must pass between two islands inhabited by the Sirens, beautiful mythical creatures. The sirens were half women, half bird creatures whose song rendered sailors incapable of good thought or action.  This meant that their ships would eventually crash upon the shores and then their bodies would be consumed by the Sirens.

Ulysses was told that he had to hear the Sirens’ song otherwise he would not likely make it home to his family.  He considered his choices and although he knew that listening to the Sirens would render him incapable of rational thought, he dearly wished to return home.

Ulysses cleverly developed a plan that allowed him to experience the Sirens while protecting his crew.  He told the crew to put wax in their ears so that they would not follow his direction at a time he was making poor decisions. He also asked his men to carefully tie him to the ships mast so that he could not jump into the sea. Finally, he ordered them not to change course under any circumstances, and to keep their focus on home as this experience would pass.  He endured the experience and continued to safely bring himself and his men home.


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