Highlights from 2013, Get Help with Step 1, A bit about GROW's Leadership Course, plus what's on in January 2014 and more...
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2013 - A Year of GROWth

At this time of the year, before delving into the challenges of 2014, it is worth spending a few moments reflecting on the successes of 2013, and thanking all those who make it happen - staff, volunteers, GROWers and funding agencies, especially the HSE.

The year got off to a powerful start in January with the GROW Conference, in association with Trinity College School of Nursing & Midwifery, supported by the Mental Health Commission and opened by President Michael D. Higgins. The key note speaker was Dr. Mike Watts who presented his research findings.

During April and May GROW staff and volunteers helped out at various venues when the Cycle Against Suicide was touring the country, and that event greatly helped to raise the profile of mental health issues within the media.

In September, there was a big PR push amongst the student and farming communities. 30,000 Stress or Distress leaflets were distributed in student packs as part of Freshers' Week and there were GROW information stands at many colleges nationwide. GROW also invested in a stand at the hugely successful National Ploughing Championships event and received coverage in the Irish Medical Times, in recognition of the fact that many people first find out about GROW from their GP or doctor.

October was a very busy month with many events taking place during Mental Health Week, including the launch of GROW's text donation campaign and a media and advertising campaign, including release of a new poster. The month ended on a high note with the National Weekend & AGM at which John Lonergan and Tom Lenihan were announced as new Patrons of GROW in Ireland. John also launched Journeying to Mental Health, an updated version of the Blue Book, and Soul Survivors Vol 3 and the 2012 Annual Report was made available.

During the year, over 4,000 x 2 hour GROW meetings were recorded, totalling over 25,000 attendees. Over 20 Community Education/Gatekeeper 4-5 week courses were held, with average attendance of around 40. A new Recorder Form was also introduced to streamline collection of metrics. Respite weekends took place in all regions and there were regional and national staff and volunteer training events.

Good governance is essential in the Charity Sector and GROW has shown its commitment to this, having been on the PQASSO journey since 2012. During 2013 GROW signed up to both the Governance Code and the ICTR fundraising principles and also reviewed and updated key policy & procedure documents.

Read full article...

News & Updates from around the Country

GROW's 12 Step Program - Step 1

Over the coming 12 months, we will feature, in turn, a short piece on each of GROW's 12 steps of recovery and growth. Step 1: "We admitted we had lost our way and needed direction" (new wording), or "We admitted we were inadequate or maladjusted to life" (original old wording).

When I first baulked at admitting I was ‘inadequate and maladjusted’ a committed and wholesome AA member soon put me right. He simply told me that this honest acknowledgement was the first essential building block for growth in any human life. The member of any 12 step Program, he said, merely had a dramatic reminder of what was true for every man, woman and child in the human race. So the truth about me and all of us is that we are flawed and dysfunction will always to a greater or lesser extent be part and parcel of who I am. No shame, no falseness in admitting this. It is the truth. It has led me to a deeper humility. Not a virtue that is much prized nowadays. A pity since the truth is we have evolved from star dust over millions of years. We are of course sophisticated, highly tuned, self-aware star dust – but dust nonetheless. Our inadequacy and maladjustment is simply the incompleteness and insufficiency we experience with the seeds of decay and death that is our lot. Denying all this is sadly refusing to admit the truth. TRUTH is written large in our logo!

Read the full article...

"Growth begins when we start to admit our own limitations"
Jean Vanier.

GROW Leadership Course (Part 1)

Leaders are best when people barely know they exist,
Not so good when people acclaim them,
Worst when people despise them,
But of good leaders who talk little when their work is done,
their aim fulfilled, their people will say:
"We did this ourselves".

Some years ago, a Leadership Course was developed by GROW in Ireland entitled: Personal Growth and Community Building through Leadership. The aspiration for this course was that by undertaking it, participants would "catch the leadership bug" and become better equipped to understand and benefit from their weekly meetings, thus fulfilling the commitment "Any leadership I exercise shall be in accordance with the GROW Program and Group Method". Ultimately, the course may also inspire leadership of the  organisation at local, regional, national and potentially international level.

Many GROWers have already completed Part 1 of this course and one of GROW's strategic goals for the next few years is to give more GROWers the opportunity to do so and to provide opportunities for those who have completed Part 1 to progress to Part 2 (covered later).
Part 1 consists of 5 modules: -
  1. Leadership as Teamwork
  2. Leadership by Example
  3. Leadership Through Helping Others
  4. Chairing a Meeting
  5. The Leadership Meeting
Read full article...

Young Adult Group Update

A reminder that the new Waterford Young Adult Group resumes at 10:30am on Thurs 9th January, in the top floor Boardroom of the Edmund Rice Youth and Community Centre, Manor Street, Waterford.  For information please contact Caroline Crotty on 086-4673239. Young Adult groups cater for the 18-30(+) age group and there are also groups in Artane, Limerick, Kells, Galway & Cork.

The Young Adult Booklet is an excellent resource and is also available on-line and can be downloaded to your phone for easy reference.

"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs"
Henry Ford.

"Only he who does nothing makes no mistakes"
French proverb.

South East Fundraising

GROW would like to thank Dr. Fergus Heffernan and Nicola McKenna for their generosity in running in the Dublin City Marathon in aid of GROW.  Fergus and his family and friends collected the magnificent amount of €2,320, while Nicola and her family collected €480. Members of GROW also collected €527.80.  An amount of €840 was raised on ‘My Charity’ online for the same two participants. In total the amount collected was €4,167.80.  GROW is really grateful to Fergus and Nicola for choosing GROW as the recipient Charity and would say a huge thank you to them both and to all who supported them.  We wish them Health and Happiness in 2014.

A reminder that GROW is in with a one in three chance of winning a brand new 2014 Toyota Yaris thanks to the Run Mount Juliet event on 15th February. We would encourage all our supporters to visit the site and vote for GROW.

New Blue Book on CD

Thanks to our friend Thomas and with help from the National Council for the Blind, the new Blue Book, Journeying to Mental Health, has been put onto CD. The CD will be available to those GROWers who require it from GROW offices nationwide.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” 
Nelson Mandela RIP.

Book Offers from GROW

Just a reminder that GROW has a special 3 book offer on for a limited time only. Soul Survivors Vols 2 & 3 and GROWing to Maturity (Ann Waters book) for €20 including postage (within Ireland). Cheques should be made payable to GROW in Ireland and posted to: GROW, Ormonde House, Barrack Street, Kilkenny. Normal price for this package would exceed €30.

Mental Health can't be taught - it has to be learned together.

First Fortnight

First Fortnight, an organisation with the aim of challenging mental health prejudice through the creative arts, are hosting a number of events during first two weeks of 2014. Most of the events are in Dublin with the exception of the screening of Silver Linings Playbook, which is also on in Newbridge, Portlaoise, Bray, Cork, Limerick & Waterford. Nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, the film was praised as one that finally saw Hollywood understand mental health problems.

Student Leaders' Congress

Cycle Against Suicide are hosting a Student Leaders' Congress in the RDS on Wed 15th January. The main aim of the event is to promote positive mental health & help-seeking behaviour in young people and to drive home the key message "that it’s ok not to feel ok and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help". Representatives from well over 100 secondary schools nationwide will be attending what promises to be a great event.

Tell the untellable to someone.

A Living Word (Part 1) - Mike Watts

In the mid-1950s, a man emerged from a state psychiatric hospital in Australia after a severe and prolonged mental illness. From being a highly acclaimed priest and teacher with doctorates in philosophy and divinity he was now classed as a paranoid schizophrenic, barely able to cope with the role of curate in a small country parish. He had a huge sense of stigma – a fear and sense of shame in the company of others. One Sunday at mass he decided to share his experiences with the congregation. To his surprise and relief, he was met with understanding, warmth and acceptance.

Read full article...

Poet's Corner

These are the things that make me happy (by a Kilkenny GROWer)

I’ve been asleep for a thousand days
Livin’ on dreams that won’t go away
I can’t stop to face the truth
Behind this frame I feel so helpless.

On and on I will trust, will trust
Never dying for what I don’t need
Look out through those peaceful eyes
Spirit shine forever.

Read full poem...

No Limbs, No Limits

The inspirational documentary film, "No Limbs, No Limits", about Joanne O'Riordan's story, produced by her brother Steven, is being shown in the Savoy on Sat 15th Feb as part of this year's Dublin Film Festival.

Reality Bites

Reality Bites: Donal Walsh - My Story. Documentary to be shown on New Year's Day, RTE 2, 9:30pm.

Happy New Year

The GROW in Ireland Newsletter Team would like to wish everyone a Happy & Healthy 2014. As always, we welcome suggestions, comments and contributions. Deadline for submission for February newsletter is Fri 24th Jan.

"Friendship improves happiness and abates misery by doubling our joy and dividing our grief"
J Addison
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