The Overall key to Mental Health: ‘Settle for disorder in lesser things for the sake of order in greater things, and therefore be content to be discontent in many things!
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March 2015 GROW in Ireland Newsletter

Balancing Surrender and Control

Step 3 of GROW’s 12 Step Program is “We surrendered to the mystery of life and love – God”. This can be a challenging step for many and, as a GROWer from the Southeast Region describes below, it is fundamentally about acknowledging that we don’t have control over everything – there are some things in life which we just have to accept.

When I developed cancer there came a stage where (out of sheer exhaustion and for peace of mind) I needed to surrender to the reality that I might die. Yet, paradoxically, surrendering to this reality gave me the energy to focus on the issues that were in my control – eg where I planned to spend my final days. I planned to die at home and did everything in my control to ensure my wishes would be respected. Surrendering to the possibility of death helped me recover, meaning I never needed to control the details of my death!

Surrender and control are not in opposition to each other. Instead I am learning the wisdom to know which quality is needed in a given situation. The key here is that I have the freedom to make choices and GROW helps me make informed choices.

Another example is how I am learning to deal with my arthritis. It is within my control to follow my doctor’s advice re diet, exercise etc. However there are times when the arthritis flares up so badly that I must surrender to the reality that I can’t do all the things ‘I feel I need to do’. Instead I surrender to the reality that my body has reached its limits and needs rest. Yet surrendering to my body’s need for rest means I bounce back sooner and can ‘resume quickly and without fuss’. Applying ‘The Serenity Prayer’ means I choose when to exercise control and when to surrender.

Galtee Mor


Community Education Programme Updates

There are a number of "Understanding and Minding your Mental Health with GROW" courses in progress or starting soon. These are all offered free of charge, though booking is advisable as they are heavily subscribed.
  • The Ennis Community Education course kicked off on 16th Feb in the Temple Gate Hotel (7:30pm) and almost 50 people turned up to hear GROW Patron, John Lonergan, and area co-ordinator Caroline Crotty, deliver a captivating talk. Derry O'Malley (who also hosts the Headspace Show on Limerick City Community Radio, Sundays 10:30am) gave a very interesting presentation on anxiety and stress management on 23rd Feb. A Clare based doctor will be delivering Monday's talk and the course concludes on 9th Mar with a night focusing on GROW and featuring a testimony from local GROWer Thomas. Thomas and area co-ordinator Mary Purcell featured on Clare FM's Morning Focus show the day the course commenced and local mental health advocate, Teri Brandon, has also been helping with promotion and awareness (Tel: 061-318813).
  • The Sligo Community Education course is also in progress in the Clarion Hotel, with final two nights on Tues 3rd and 10th Mar at 8:00pm (Tel: 074-91-61628).
  • The Tullamore Community Education course starts this Mon 2nd Mar at 7:30pm in the Charleville Centre, Church Road. Finola Colgan from Mental Health Ireland is giving the opening talk and the course runs for 4 consecutive Monday nights (Tel: 086-811-4135).
  • There are a number of interesting speakers lined up to deliver the Dundalk Community Education course which commences this Wed 4th Mar at 8:00pm in the Crowne Plaza Hotel with a talk on dispelling stigma from Derek Pepper of Shine (Tel: 074-91-61628).
  • Meanwhile, up in Donegal, Bill Vaughan from Mental Health Ireland will be kicking off the North West region's 4 week programme on Tues 14th Apr at 11.00am in The Yard, Falcarragh, with a talk on Resilience (Tel: 086-770-2860).
Details about all GROW's current and future community education courses can be found on the GROW website.

Tour De Force 2015

Tour De Force 2015 is now open for applications.  As with each and every year places are limited so those in early will be guaranteed to be sitting on their bikes in Lisbon in September.

The nominated 2015 Charities are Childline ISPCCGROW and The Laura Brennan Charitable Trust. The group will be cycling from Lisbon in Portugal to Santiago De Compostela in the Galicia region of Northern Spain over some of Europe’s most spectacular cycling scenery.

Cost per participant is €2,000 (€750 costs and €1,250 charitable donation). The cycle takes place from Sun 20th to Sat 26th September 2015. First to pay up deposit of €300 by 20th March will be guaranteed a place on the cycle.

For further information contact or check out the Tour De Force Facebook page.

Depression - Symptoms, Treatment & Self Help

Article by Colin P. McDonnell of Psychotherapy Dublin.
Depression is a term used quite frequently in day-to-day conversation to describe low mood. Often it’s used by people following a “bad week,” “a job loss,” or a “failing relationship.” Life is full of pitfalls and anxieties and it’s easy to see how we can become ‘depressed’ momentarily after these setbacks. The real difficulty is when this low mood (or other symptoms) fails to lift after a number of weeks, or months. It is the persistence of these symptoms for at least a number of weeks that leads most people to a clinical diagnosis of depression.

Read full article... or see Colin's interesting Infographic...

Volunteering is good for you!

In 2013, we conservatively estimated that the value which volunteers bring to GROW, based on the minimum hourly rate, exceeds €225,000 per annum. The spirit of volunteering is initially gently encouraged within GROW meetings as members volunteer to lead their meeting and give their testimony. As GROWers regain their confidence, many then go on and take on the voluntary role of group Organiser or Recorder. Some GROWers may then also volunteer for roles on regional or national teams. It is the experience of many GROWers that volunteering in this manner, and giving something back to the organisation, has, in fact, been an important confidence building component of their recovery journey and it is widely recognised that there are many benefits of volunteering

If you are a current or former GROW member, you may be interested in helping out? The National Program Team is seeking a new female member to assist with program matters (GROW Program, Leadership, Publications etc.).  GROW in Ireland is also currently reviewing and updating its Memorandum & Articles of Association. This project involves looking at the existing documents and comparing them with both standard Irish Memorandum & Articles of Association and those of GROW in Australia. If you have a particular interest in either of these activities, then we would like to hear from you. Replies to
Speaking of volunteering, a new initiative was launched in February whereby Volunteer Ireland and Boardmatch Ireland have partnered up with LinkedIn to make it easier for Irish charities to link up with Irish professionals looking for volunteering opportunities.

Limerick 26 Miles 26 Heroes Update

The 26 Miles 26 Heroes initiative, which was launched in January and which features 26 charities collaborating on raising funds and awareness and centred around the Great Limerick Run (Sun 3rd May), is gathering momentum in Limerick.  On 26th Feb (a marathon is 26.2 miles), many of the charities involved, including GROW, held coffee mornings in various venues around the city. The GROW event raised €120 and was mainly a "12th Step" event for GROWers from different groups to meet, but some of the charities involved held larger events and a combined impressive total of over €11,000 was raised.

In addition to offering a 10% discount on entry fees for all races to the 26 charities, the Great Limerick Run have kindly donated 5 x 10k entries to each of the charities so anyone who wants to be considered for any of these should email as soon as possible.

The next big event coming up is the Great Limerick Charity Ball which takes place in the Strand Hotel on Sat 21st Mar. Each of the charities, including GROW, has booked a table of 10 at this event. We currently have 2 seats remaining at our table, priced at €50 each, so to secure one of those email without delay.

News from Cork

The Southern Region has started holding a Coffee Morning on the last Friday of each month in the Cork Grand Parade office, 10:30am to 12:30pm. The aim is to provide a 12th Step opportunity for GROWers in the region and also to enable members of the public to drop in for a chat in order to find out more information about GROW. Perhaps in a few months similar monthly coffee mornings will be a feature across all GROW regions...

The region also applied successfully to the Tesco Community Fund in Tesco Express on the Douglas Road in Cork. At the end of a six week period, €1,000 will be divided among the three nominated charities. The amount GROW receives will depend on the number of tokens GROW receives from shoppers, who can pick up a token after making a purchase and donate to one of the three charities. We would be very grateful if people who are passing through Tesco Express on Douglas Road would take the opportunity to donate a token to GROW. Tesco have many shops around Ireland so this opportunity is available in all regions.

Cycle Against Suicide Update

We are all familiar with the 1,400 km Cycle Against Suicide which starts in Belfast on 27th April and concludes in Dublin on 10th May but have you heard of the RUN for Cycle Against Suicide? Founder Jim Breen is running the entire cycle route, in reverse, starting in Dublin on 30th March and finishing up in Belfast on 26th April - that's 50 km per day! In order to engage with local communities and spread the message that ‘it’s ok to not feel ok; and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help’, a 5k Fun Run/Walk will be organised by local Athletics Clubs to take place on as many of the run days as possible. At the end of each day, a mental health presentation will take place in local community halls, businesses, voluntary organisations or prisons. The whole thing kicks off with a 5k Run in the Park in Phoenix Park, Dublin, on Mon 30th Mar. This event is primarily targeted at schools.

Upcoming Mental Health Related Events

Each month we like to feature a few upcoming mental health related events which may be of interest to our readers and to GROW members across the country.

The Good, The Bad and The Internet?

There are many diverse views and opinions about the internet and social media and the effect which these technologies have on our behaviour and indeed our mental health. In 2014 Robert Fisk asked was our addiction to the internet as harmful as any drug? February has just come to an end and so with it the end of the Facebook Free February campaign - you can read blogs which detail the experience and views of many people on their website as they adjusted their social media behaviour.  The internet is still very young and just as when the motor car first arrived there was a lot of disruption and it took a while before we had well established "rules of the road" and driving etiquette. So the question is, how far are we on that journey to mature use of the internet and social media?

From the perspective of a charity, the internet has made it incredibly cost effective and easy to reach a wide audience to disseminate information (e.g. GROW's Young Adult booklet), promote events and highlight services. The whole GROW program is however geared around the weekly peer support meetings, most of which take place in the evening to suit working people.  Given the dispersed population in Ireland and the poor public transport infrastructure, there are many people who simply cannot avail of GROW's services. What is the answer? Fortunately with the advent of the internet, it becomes possible to deliver some services remotely and here are a few good examples to provide some food for thought: -
  • Suicide or Survive deliver Wellness Workshops nationwide. In an attempt to broaden the reach of these workshops, they have introduced a new On-Line Wellness Workshop.
  • Founded in 2009, is an organisation dedicated to using technology to connect people, promote mental wellbeing and help prevent suicide. They provide a range of services including an on-line Group Support service.
  • The HSE website is packed with good information and it now has a Continuum section where you can browse through tips based on how you are feeling.
So, in summary, as it says in GROW's "Blue Book", 'All problems are ultimately problems of understanding and due regulation or control'. Seeing as Water is in the news a lot lately, it should be easy to envisage getting a glass of clean, fresh water from the kitchen tap - we are in control of the tap - turn it a fraction and water will drip slowly out and frustrate us - turn it on full blast and we might splatter ourselves and the kitchen with water - but turn it on just right and all is well and the desired outcome is achieved efficiently and without fuss!

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