The June edition looks at Step 6 of the GROW Program - we endured until cured.  We also look back at some of the positive events which took place during the Green Ribbon month of May.
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June 2016 GROW in Ireland Newsletter

We Endured Until Cured

This piece on Step 6 of the GROW Program, We Endured Until Cured, has been kindly submitted by a Limerick GROWer. 
There’s a saying that ‘there is no gain without pain’. ‘Discomfort’ or ‘self-sacrifice’ may be more appropriate words than ‘pain’. In order to direct ourselves on the path of recovery we need to accept that healing, whether physical or mental, involves inconvenience to ourselves.

This is a time of self-examination and taking stock. We buy into taking the ‘rough road’ because we believe that ‘it gets us there’. We come to the realisation that it is by being patient and perseverant with the GROW Program that we will get fruitful rewards. We ‘get out of the Program' exactly what we ‘put in’.

Meanwhile, during the transition from ill-health to wellness, we console ourselves by letting ‘time pass’.

This further piece on Step 6 of the GROW Program has been kindly submitted by a Kilkenny GROWer.
Our group has often discussed the wording of this step. Generally people see the need to endure, but question the word ‘cured’. Step 6 is all about keeping going, despite the obstacles we meet in life. If we hit a rough patch, we may not be able to keep speeding ahead in 5th gear, but we can learn to crawl along in 1st gear. It’s important we don’t sabotage our progress by totally stalling or even going into reverse.  
Such resilience requires a variety (toolbox) of skills:
  • We learn to avoid isolation and keep in friendly touch with others
  • We use our reason to overcome fears and do good ordinary tasks
  • We step out of our comfort zone and become more involved with the world around us
  • We take better care of our health (diet, exercise, sleep etc.)
The more skills we have, the bigger our toolbox – and this means we are far better equipped to deal with difficult times. Basically ‘the cure’ is having a big toolbox, containing many different skills, habits, positive connections to people/organisations etc.

What makes life interesting is that we all need to develop our own unique toolbox. For some rock-climbing or acting on stage gives meaning to their lives, but most of us would not fancy such activities! The key is to find what activities give meaning to your life. At our weekly meetings we aim to take tasks that build up our toolbox. Perhaps, the cure is found through constantly trying new things, a process of trial and error – a bit like how medical science works!


Midland and Eastern Regional News

Glendalough Weekend

The Eastern and Midland Regions came together to celebrate their joint regional weekend in the Glendalough Hotel from May 6th – 8th.  There were a range of speakers and activities and the fifty people who attended enjoyed and benefited from the weekend break.

Workplace Program

Ruairi Powell, Regional Manager, delivered the workplace program ‘Stress Management in the Workplace’ to the staff in the SAGE Office, Central Park, Leopardstown, on Friday, May 20th.

Information Days

In the Midland Region, an information evening took place in Cuan Bhride, Rathdowney, County Laois, on Wednesday, June 1st. It was held in preparation for the commencement of a GROW group in the parish.

A second information event will be held in Portlaoise Parish Centre at 11a.m. on Thursday, June. 16th. This is an information morning for Post Natal Mothers whom we hope will attend. If you know a new mother in the area, it would be good to let them know they are welcome.

[For more information on the Post Natal Mothers Information Event see the GROW website]

Poem Kindly Submitted by Colm


Survival is all about hope,
Hope can only come from self,
When we stray a little off course,
We all need that helpful nudge.

With that nudge that we gain,
We can begin to trust again,
Being afraid to grab & hold,
Courage to break that mould.

When we are down and all alone,
Our world is just one big frown,
It takes but all to make a choice,
To find that saviour with that voice.

Who can help us on this road?
God, a Doctor or maybe GROW. 
Sharing love & wisdom be,
Friendship is that Special Key.

Thank you so much to Colm for his very powerful and moving poem on the importance and value of friendship.


The Twelve Steps of Recovery and Growth Workshop - Southern Region

At the commencement of each GROW meeting we always recite the 12 steps of Recovery and Growth to get us back on track. But how often do we really stop and think about what each step means to us, where we are at in relation to the 12 steps and as importantly, how do we actually apply them in our lives?

It was for this reason that the GROW Southern Region decided to dedicate a workshop for all of the Cork city and county GROW groups to revisit the 12 Steps and talk about what they mean to each of us.

All 12 of the Cork groups were represented at the Training Workshop, which was held at The Oriel House Hotel, Ballincollig, on a sunny Saturday, May 28th.  Each group was allocated one step to discuss and present back to the rest of the group on what their step represented to them and how they applied it.

Each of the presentations were of an excellent standard and made for some lively and very interesting discussion. The calibre of the work put in by each of the groups was outstanding and it was quite obvious that a lot of thought and effort went into their presentations.  

Fieldworkers Treasa Twomey, Finola O’Callaghan and Jerry Cronin were so impressed that copies of the presentations have been requested by each of the groups and are being forwarded to the Program Team, with a view to utilising them in future publications. So you may well see these same articles in our next GROW Newsletter to help you ponder the 12 Twelve Steps of Recovery and Growth and what they represent to each of us.

It was not all work and no play, however, and the day finished off with a superb lunch in the buffet dining room, with plenty of catching up and chat by all members of the GROW Cork groups.


Afternoon Tea Events in Dungarvan

It was ‘time for tea’ on the double in Dungarvan recently when two afternoon tea events took place. 

The events were held during the Dungarvan Food Festival and were a collaborative effort between GROW and the Church of Ireland. The Dungarvan Tuesday GROW group took responsibility for organising food and raffle hampers.  

In the weeks leading up to the afternoon teas, the group collected hamper items from the other GROW groups and anyone else willing to donate. A most enjoyable evening was spent putting seven spectacular hampers together. Tarts were made, scones baked and Mary Hennessy, known as ‘Mary Hen’, did Trojan work while also imparting expert knowledge and invaluable advice.

The Church of Ireland ladies and gents did their part preparing the venue - the Church tea rooms. Doors were opened at 12 and a steady stream of natives and visitors kept everyone busy til 6p.m. A second afternoon tea event took place the following day and aptly concluded with a hamper raffle. GROWers were very lucky and it was a lovely reward for all their hard work to hear their name being called out, with them choosing a sumptuous Mary Hen hamper!

These tea events are important not only for the money they generate but because of the collaboration between GROW and the Church of Ireland. When the great tidy up was completed, the proceeds were divided between GROW and the COI.

Thank you to Danielle for the lovely photos. [See more on the GROW Blog]


Western Regional Weekend 2016 - Esker Retreat Centre, Galway

Another GROW Western Regional Weekend has come to an end, but the memories and wisdom gained will last long in the minds of those in attendance.

The theme for the weekend was ‘Friendship Either Finds or Makes People Equal’. These key subjects of Friendship and Equality were a major part of the weekend. Preparations for the weekend began well in advance of May. It all started back in February when all the Western GROW groups submitted suggestions forms with their ideas for Esker. Many thanks to all the GROW groups for their suggestions.

The weekend itself started with reflections on Friday night. Attendees reflected on friends past and present by lighting candles for those who weren’t present – and those who are sadly no longer with us. Shauna, who facilitated the session, shared the story of Stuart as an illustration of the many different types of friendship in the world. 

[Read more about the Western Regional Weekend here]


A GROW Regional Weekend Testimony - Kindly Submitted by a GROWer 

The GROW Weekend had been flagged for weeks but I was very indecisive about whether or not I’d venture down. You see, I’m too uptight, too uncomfortable with new people, too uncomfortable with new places – too uncomfortable with me.

I had been parachuting in to GROW meetings for the best part of two years but I always slithered back to the comfortable anxiety and isolation of my own home. Sometimes my lonely, stunted, loveless soul would put in an appearance at a Twelve Step event – you know, a coffee, a walk, even a table quiz. I was the one in the big glass jar; the rest of the world operated at the other side of the transparent wall.
I was lazy and worthless, even before my mother bullied me with all her insecurity and negativity. However, the people at GROW sort of nudged me away from that kind of thinking. They’d listen to crap from the past, anybody’s past, but I soon got their message. Anybody could stir their own cauldron of vomit and bring lumpy bits to the surface from time to time. But GROW was more interested in where we were going from here.

[Read the full testimony on the GROW Blog]


Community Education Program in Balbriggan

Balbriggan GROW Group held a Community Education Program on May 30th in the Community Hall in Dublin Street. A big 'thank you' from GROW to Fiona from the Raheny GROW group who came along and gave her testimony. 

Staff members from Jigsaw and Headstrong eagerly took GROW literature as well as information gained from their attendance back to their organisations for any of their members who will turn 18 in the coming weeks or months.   

The Laurena Day Centre in Balbriggan displayed posters advertising GROW's Community Education Program and encouraged their members to attend. 

Fiona spoke about the four years she has been attending GROW meetings. Also, about the knowledge the GROW Program has given Fiona in caring for her mental health and how it has lead her on a path towards recovery.

Fiona was proud to tell the audience of some of her many achievements over the past four years, leading meetings, becoming organiser of her group, making friends, socialising at regional and national weekends and returning to education to complete her Leaving Certificate. GROW wishes Fiona the very best of luck in her Leaving Cert exams over the coming weeks.

Tea and coffee with some refreshments was enjoyed by all who attended. The Balbriggan GROW group takes place every Monday at 2p.m. in the Community Centre, Dublin Street, Balbriggan

'You alone can do it but you cannot do it alone'.  

Poem Kindly Submitted by Ed


I suffer from an illness
But I’m not going to say
Because you don’t understand it
You might just walk away.

And so I keep it to myself
I wear my daily mask
So you can’t see my pain
I have to perform this daily task.

I know what you would say
If I was to share a bit
The words I hear time after time
“Ah would you snap out of it”.

The stigma that is all around
Prevents me from being me
If only you could understand
The loneliness life can be.

I’m a human just like you
I’m not a freak or crazy mad
There are just times in my life
When I find myself very sad.

I do my crying in the rain
So my tears you will not see
Because I feel so ashamed
To show the world the real me.

If only you could reach out
And take my shaking hand
Because it’s only with your help
I can take my head out of the sand.

Our heartfelt thanks to Ed for sharing his insightful and touching poem. Ed sent us this poem from St. Patrick’s Hospital, Dublin. He hopes that by sharing his poem, it will help to breakdown the stigma associated with having depression. We thank Ed for sharing this wonderful poem, especially during the Green Ribbon month of May, and we wish him a steady recovery.

Cycle Against Suicide 'SpinOff' Events

GROW staff and volunteers were delighted to be once again involved with #CASuicide800 which wound its way across Ireland during May. 

Area Coordinator, Ellen Ryle, featured recently in the Gorey and Enniscorthy Guardian newspapers in Co. Wexford and highlighted the various GROW groups which meet weekly across Ireland including Co. Wexford and provide ongoing support to people.

Photos from GROW and the 2016 Cycle Against Suicide can be viewed here while you can also check out this article on the UTV Ireland website featuring one of the @GROW_Ireland tweets.

While the main Cycle Against Suicide event may be over for 2016, a series of 'SpinOff' cycles are scheduled for the coming weeks and months.

A ‘SpinOff’ is a locally organised cycle that takes place on the third Saturday of every month after the main Cycle Against Suicide ends. The events are organised locally and championed by Cycle Against Suicide ‘local leaders’.

A SpinOff has all the colour, energy and fun of the annual Cycle but is packed into a single day.

Meanwhile, from September 5th - 11th a series of events will take place to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Week including the #LetsGoOrange campaign.

GROW Champions Green Ribbon Campaign 

May was Green Ribbon month and witnessed See Change, the National Stigma Reduction Partnership and its 90 partner organisations including GROW, support this hugely important campaign.

The Green Ribbon initiative is aimed at 'changing minds about mental health' by promoting open conversations about mental health and challenging the stigma of mental health problems. 

A huge number of events took place across Ireland including National #TimeToTalk Day on Friday, May 20th. For details on some of the Green Ribbon events, visit the GROW Blog:


'Bringing Mental Health Out of the Darkness' - Donegal Event

Several events were attended by GROWers as part of Green Ribbon month. These included the 'I Am A Reason -  Donegal' event on 'Bringing Mental Health Out of The Darkness' which took place on May 12th at The Exchange in Buncrana and featured a talk by Dr. Aidan Roarty. 

Meanwhile, a guided woodland walk as part of the Green Ribbon Campaign also took place at Ards Forest Park on Sunday, May 22nd.


New Communications Officer

Hello to you all. My name is Aisling Donnelly and I am delighted to have joined GROW as a part-time Communications Officer. 

At present, I am familiarising myself with GROW and its online platforms as well as working on developing external and internal communications strategies. I have attended some Regional Team meetings over the past number of weeks and found it invaluable. I will be visiting the remainder of the Regional Teams over the summer months.

My email address is The best days to contact me are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

I am very much looking forward to working with you all over the coming weeks and months.

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