Go Green this May and take part in the Green Ribbon campaign with GROW and See Change's other 90 partner organisations and get people talking openly about Mental Health.
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Step 5 - We Tackled our Weaknesses

We also tackled our weaknesses and failures. This article on Step 5 of the GROW 12 Step Program is a selection of pieces by different writers who explore how different aspects of our personality can be both a strength (Step 4) and a weakness (Step 5). For example, many people who attend GROW are “givers” and sometimes give too much of themselves to the detriment of their own physical and mental well being, but to completely suppress this personality trait would not be good – it is really about getting the balance right.

Brigid: I am diplomatic by nature – I have a fear of upsetting people. However diplomacy can give you a stomach ulcer – and that’s why I came to GROW. At that time I didn’t realise that I wasn’t sticking up for myself. GROW helped me to find my voice.

Mike Watts: I seem to have been born with an ability to always see the positive. Whatever happens the bottle is always at least half full. Most of the time this feels like a personal blessing. It means that I can usually work my way through problems, and often find having a problem to be a real opportunity for growth. The downside is that a part of me doesn’t really mind that much if things go wrong.

Anne Waters: I have always been a worrier. I tend to feel inadequate and somehow guilty for all that I fail to do and for all the things I might be able to do better. The piece in GROW that has helped me with this is “Ordinariness”. I not only can be ordinary, I AM ordinary! While I can do what most ordinary good people do, I cannot do everything. I can’t know everything. I really am NOT God. While I have always known this fact intellectually, emotionally I felt guilty. It was in GROW that I suddenly realized I was trying to take on all the problems of the world and, of course, making a miserable job of it.

Tadhg: By nature I am extremely stubborn. It was this extreme stubbornness that caused me to ignore offers of help, leading to my breakdown. Attending GROW has made me realise that stubbornly refusing help and guidance is a weakness. However stubbornness can also be my strength. It has given me the ability to keep going in difficult times, when many other people would have given up.

Read Full Article...

News and Updates from around the Country

Get Ireland Talking about Mental Health this May

See Change, the National Stigma Reduction Partnership and its 90 partner organisations, including GROW, are rolling out the Green Ribbon Campaign again this May to get people talking openly about mental health problems. The aim is to make the month of May every year synonymous with promoting open conversation of mental health and challenging the stigma of mental health problems.

There are a huge number of events taking place nationwide and a list of these can be found on the Green Ribbon Events page and some are also listed below.

GROW is involved in a number of events during May: - Green Ribbons will be distributed at many events and they are also available from Citizen’s Information Centres and GROW offices nationwide and from Irish Rail (Thurs 1st May, 3-5pm - Connolly Station; Fri 2nd May, 8-10am - Pearse Street Station; 2-4pm - Heuston Station; Tues 6th May, 4-6pm - Kent Station, Cork and Sat 10th May, 12-3pm - Galway Station).

Green Ribbons will also be available at the Walk and Talk events, supported by the IFA, Coillte, Mental Health Ireland and See Change. These were very popular in 2013 and they are on again this year in the following locations: -
  • Sun, May 4th @ 3pm Avondale House & Forest Park, Co. Wicklow.
  • Sun, May 11th @ 3pm Ard, Donegal.
  • Sun, May 18th @3pm Portumna, Co. Galway.
  • Sat May 24th @3pm Curragh Chase, Co. Limerick.
  • Sun, May 25th @ 3pm Island Wood, Cork
There are also numerous other Mental Health related events (not all those listed below are Green Ribbon events) which may be of interest to GROWers nationwide: - If you have a mental health related event taking place during May, let us know.

Raising Mental Health Awareness in Clonmel

On Thursday 10th April approx 100 people attended the Clonmel Park Hotel for the first of four public health awareness talks (Understanding and Minding your Mental Health with GROW) organised by Caroline Crotty and Mary Walsh (South Eastern Region GROW Area Coordinators). John Lonergan as the opening speaker and current Patron of GROW held his audience captive and entertained as he recounted stories from his years as Mountjoy Governor and community speaker.

Derry O’Malley, GROW Programme Team member and Limerick-based Human Givens therapist gave a fascinating talk on why we react the way we do to stress/anxiety and how best to mind our emotional and psychological well-being. Linda Thorpe of Mental Health Ireland give tips and advice on how to build resilience. Linda, as with John and Derry, encouraged positive thinking and self-praise. Linda spoke easily about how our mental health is in a state of flux over time and throughout our lives.

The large numbers of attendees on each evening confirms the necessity for mental health promotion such as this four week programme organised by GROW but also demonstrates the high level of interest in this subject matter held by the Clonmel and surrounding communities. Feedback from each evening has been exceptionally positive with people contacting both Mary and Caroline to confirm that they have been inspired and felt a ‘buzz’ of positivity following the talks

The final night Thursday the 1st May (7.30 pm to 9.30 pm) will see Christine Fitzgerald, National Programme Coordinator of GROW, explain how GROW works.  There will be an opportunity to ask questions about GROW and other service providers in the locality who have been invited to attend the Clonmel Park Hotel. This is an invaluable opportunity to find out about locally available supports and services and all are welcome – please feel free to contact either Caroline 086 467 3239 or Mary 087 284 3424 or the regional Kilkenny office if you require any information.

Read full article or find out about future Community Education events.

A Living Word by Mike Watts - Part 4 - "Things"

We live in a world of things. All of us inundated by them. On our way to work every morning, we are surrounded by an ever-dense line of things called cars and things called buses and lorries. Every day things called bills and promotion leaflets fall through things called letterboxes. We are bombarded by things called advertisements to take things like coffee, burgers, chocolates, alcohol, perfume into or onto our bodies. In order to cope with ordinary everyday living, more and more people, it seems, take things called tranquillisers, which are little things called tablets, in order to calm them down.

There are three much more powerful tranquillisers than pills. The first is life itself. It we take time to listen, we will hear its voice. The second is the human mind and its ability to help us deal with life. As humans, each of us possesses a thing called a brain. The human brain is the most complicated thing known in the universe. All religions agree that through meditation our minds can bring us peace. The third tranquilliser is the love of another human being. There is nothing as calming or so beautiful as to experience the love or friendship of others and to be able to return that love. Things called tranquillisers are valuable when we are so broken that we cannot use our minds or respond to friends, but they are only the starting point to recovery.

Read more Living Word pieces by Mike.


Mid West - Limerick, Clare, N.Tipperary

Following on from the successful Templemore Community Education event, the Templemore GROW group was re-started and meets on Wednesdays at 8pm in the McCauley Centre. A special thanks to GROWers and supporters from North Tipperary who held a quiz night in Mackey's Bar, Thurles on Friday 25th April.

On 12/13 April, around 60 GROWers gathered in the Bunratty Castle Hotel, Co. Clare, for the Mid West Regional Weekend. There were some great testimonies from Ann and Jenny and some interesting workshops lead by Jackie Hogan (Reclaiming ME), Fr. Stan (Motivation), Vincent (Meditation) and area co-ordinators Mary & James (What makes a good GROW meeting).  Remembering that "friendship is the special key to mental health", new frienships were formed and old ones nourished with plenty of other activities including the annual fun quiz (lead by Christine Fitzgerald, National Program Co-ordinator), a trip around Bunratty Castle & Folk Park and plenty of music and dancing too. Read full report on our website.

May is shaping up to be an exceptionally busy month. The region will be supporting the Cycle Against Suicide as it passes through Newcastle West, Limerick and Ennis on Sat 3rd May and on Sun 4th May, a number of people are taking part in the Great Limerick Run, including Kenn, David, Murray & Rob who are doing the Marathon Relay. You can support their efforts on iDonate. On Sun 18th May, GROW will have a stand at the Limerick Mental Health Association Green Ribbon event in Limerick's famous Milk Market.

South East - Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Carlow, S. Tipperary

On 5th Apr, Karen organised a Karaoke Night in Dillon's Bar, Dungargan, which raised €700 for GROW. The following week, everyone was busy preparing for the Dungarvan Festival of Food during which GROW teamed up with the folks from St Mary's Church of Ireland (Charity Vintage Team Rooms). Mary from the Tues GROW group did some phenomenal baking. The events included a vintage wedding dress exhibition.  The weekend conculded with a lovely service of wellbeing on Sunday morning in which GROWers took part and on Sunday evening the Bugle Babes concert brought people back to the 1940s.  Over €1,000 was raised for GROW over the weekend so a big well done to all those GROWers and supporters who helped out.

From 1st to 3rd May (8pm), the one act Eoin Colfer play, "Holy Mary", starring Mary O'Connor and Anne Crosbie, directed by Jayne O'Sullivan and presented by Gerrie North comes to the Fusion Cafe, Wexford. Tickets only €10 with all proceeds going to GROW. The play is about a first Holy Communion but touches on the delicate subject of bullying.

East - Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare

The Eastern Regional Weekend took place up in the beautiful surrounds of Glendalough during April. There was a good turnout and a it was a great success. On 14th May, the Dublin launch of  GROW’s new Soul Survivors 3 Book will take place at 7pm in the Dublin Writers Centre, 19 Parnell Sq, Dublin 1. A few special guest speakers have been lined up so it should be a good event.

Poet's Corner

A poem by Joan L from the South East region. See more poems by GROWers on our website.

It was my last long and hot carefree summer.
Packed my big suitcase,
October: I’ll be a student nurse. 

Nearly sorted,
Dinner was ready,
I’d be on the train at two.
My eldest brother turned to me:
“Don’t bother with that case
you’ll be back in no time”.
I left all that was easy and cozy,
bar his bitter words.
Was that start of his demons?
I loved Dublin. Most of all the nightlife,
films, plays and dances, with wishes and kisses.
Disco was the best of all.
I met my three sisters.
Loved beans on toast.
We were so a happy.
But I did miss home,
the big kitchen, Mammy baking bread,
Daddy full of fun, Uncle Jer reading.
My eldest brother inherited our farm,
he never excelled like Daddy had,
he broke our hearts, took his own life.
Can there be any winners in the blame game?


Final Word - The Cycle Against Suicide in Numbers

  • 7,000 cyclists.
  • 1,400 kms.
  • 14 days.
  • 123 towns and villages.
  • Meeting 20,000 students.
  • 28 events.
  • 115 volunteers.
  • 3,000 Homestays.
  • 1 aim - break the cycle of suicide.
Cycle departs RTE Studios Mon 28th April and returns to Dublin on Sun 11th May. See the route map.

"...May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face..." - Best of luck to all those involved from GROW in Ireland.

Text "GROW" to 50300 to donate €2 GROW in Ireland via LikeCharity.

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