This month's newsletter includes GROW's National Weekend in Athlone, Mental Health Week activities, the 'Better Together' video competition and details of GROW events.
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October 2016 GROW in Ireland Newsletter

Hugely Successful GROW National Weekend Held in Athlone

Over 200 people attended the GROW National Weekend in Athlone from September 30th to October 2nd in what was an inspirational, heart-warming, motivational and wonderful weekend for all in attendance.

Over the weekend, friendships were forged and renewed, stories shared and lasting memories made. There was fun aplenty and also lots of inspiration through the many excellent, thought-provoking, engaging and entertaining events and activities, from the fun quiz on Friday and salsa dancing on Saturday to the wonderful workshops.

The workshops included ‘Mindfulness’ by Susan Crowley, ‘Just One Breath’ by Derry O’Malley, ‘Nutrition and Mental Health’ by Conor Saunders and ‘Group Problem Solving’ with Mary Walsh and Izabela Morris.

The guest speaker at the Radisson Blu was the renowned Dr. Fergus Heffernan, who educated, entertained and inspired with his words of wisdom. There was also a powerful closing address by Fr. Stan, who drew attention to the theme of the weekend - ‘growth is painful, but permanently rewarding’.

In the words of GROW’s National Program Coordinator Christine Fitzgerald, events like the National Weekend “prove that the true spirit of GROW in Ireland is still very much alive". She added: "Thank you to you all for making it a wonderful weekend and long may it continue".

GROW CEO Michele Kerrigan also extended her heartfelt thanks to all those who attended the weekend, making it the largest ever GROW National Weekend. She similarly thanked all those who worked so tirelessly to make the weekend such a success. 

[To read more visit the GROW website]

Get Voting for GROW's 'Better Together' Video Entry

During the GROW National Weekend, a request went out and was enthusiastically answered for volunteers to take part in a video showcasing GROW’s important message of promoting positive mental health.

A huge and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all who took part in the ‘GROWing Better Together’ video and shared their GROW wisdoms as well as their insights and experience of how GROW has helped them in their lives. Thank you also to Rob Stephen and Jayne O’Sullivan for their video-making expertise.

The video has been entered for The Wheel’s annual ‘Better Together’ competition and is now on the ‘Better Together’ website.

Please vote for the video and encourage others to do so also. The voting closing date is 5pm on December 7th. You are able to vote once every 24 hours. Once voting ends, five videos will then be shortlisted in each category and a panel of independent judges will select the winners.

You can vote for GROW's video entry here.

Exciting GROW Midwest Fitness Initiative

GROW Midwest Region has recently embarked on an exciting new venture in collaboration with Darragh Droog from DELTA Gym, Ballysimon Road, Limerick and Alan Loftus, Sports Physiotherapist.

This 12 Step work sees 16 people from across our groups in the Midwest participate in an eight week programme in the gym. The programme includes nutritional information, physical activity (sore bums from the bikes!) and fun games (badminton with balloons…it is possible!).

We are three weeks into the programme and everyone is lining out bright and early each Monday for 10am.

[For more details see the GROW website

Piece kindly submitted by Area Coordinator Mary Purcell.

GROW Annual General Meeting

GROW’s Annual General Meeting took place prior to the commencement of the National Weekend.

At the AGM, Denis Fitzpatrick stepped down from his role as Chairman while Rob Stephen stepped down as Treasurer.

GROW in Ireland's current Board is as follows: Rob Stephen - National Chairman (Midwest Region); Ciaran Diamond - National Treasurer (North East Region); Jayne O'Sullivan - Company Secretary (South East Region); Amy Lalor - Member (Southern Region); Lorraine Lydon - Member (Western Region); Michael Martin - Member (North West Region); Michael Sheahan - Member (Midlands Region); Denis Fitzpatrick - Member; Derry O'Malley - Member (Program Team).

Michele Kerrigan, CEO of GROW, extended sincere thanks to Denis for his commitment and dedication over the last number of years in his role as Chairman and to Rob in his position as Treasurer. She also extended good wishes to the incoming Chairman and Treasurer.

“I would like to congratulate Rob and Ciaran on their new roles and I look forward to working with you all as we move into our new Strategic Plan,” Michele added.

'We Took Our Responsible and Caring Place in Society'

The following piece has been submitted as a Limerick Leader's Paper on Step 10 of the GROW Program.

We all have a role to play in our community and society as a whole. We each bring our own personal and special traits. We owe it to ourselves to be the best that we can be and that means using our talents and specialties for the betterment of others. While being responsible for ourselves, we show responsibility towards our wider family. This, in turn, builds self-esteem and confidence.

[To read more, see the GROW website]

New GROW Groups in Co. Meath

New GROW community support groups have commenced in Co. Meath.

A community group began on September 15th in the Parish Hall on Ashbourne's Main Street. The group meets on the first three Thursdays of each month from 2pm to 4pm - no meeting is held on the last Thursday of each month.

For more information call our information line on 1890 474 474 or Area Coordinator Louise on 086 7706067.

Meanwhile, two further new GROW groups have commenced in Ratoath and Dunboyne. The Ratoath meeting takes place on Tuesdays at 7pm in 'As You Like It' Caffe, The Venue Community Centre. The Dunboyne GROW group meets on Thursdays at 10am in The Parish Centre, Maynooth Road.

For more details, contact Area Coordinator Mary on 086 0201718 or email

Sign Up for Limerick Women's Mini Marathon and Promote GROW

Calling all Ladies…and gents. Sign up for the Limerick Women's Mini Marathon on October 30th in support of GROW.

What is good for our physical health is also good for our mental heath. GROW has almost 30 people already signed up for the event, who are prepared to walk, jog or run 5km or 10km. All will be proudly wearing a GROW t-shirt to promote our organisation and our message of positive mental health.

Registration costs €22 and can be done online at this link. The registration fee goes to the event organisers, but if anyone would like to donate to GROW please do so at IDONATE.

For further details, contact GROW's Limerick office on 061 318813 or Area Coordinator Mary Purcell on 086 8231624.

[See also the GROW website]

GROW Involved in Annual Meath Mental Health Festival 

Meath Local Sports in association with Meath County Council, GROW, Jigsaw Meath, SHINE, Meath Employability Services, HSE, CORE Meath and the GAA have come together to deliver Meath Mental Health Festival.

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Helen McEntee launched the third annual festival which takes place from October 3rd to 10th.

Meath Mental Health Festival is a countywide initiative to promote the awareness of positive mental health. This is done through a series of workshops delivered in community settings including rural areas, secondary schools and sports clubs.

[For more details see the GROW website]

New GROW Group in Knocklyon in Dublin 16

A new GROW Group is due to start in Knocklyon in South West Dublin on Wednesday, October 12th at the IONA Pastoral Centre.

The meeting will be held every Wednesday at 7pm. No introductions are needed - just come along to this free weekly peer-support meeting.

The Iona Pastoral Centre is situated directly behind Knocklyon Shopping Centre on Idrone Avenue in Dublin 16 and is beside St. Colmcille's Church

Area Coordinator Izabela Morris highlighted how GROW groups offer ongoing support to people struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. “At GROW meetings, we support each other in our difficulties. We help each other to overcome these difficulties and grow stronger together." 

A sincere ‘thank you’ is extended to the Ballyfermot group members who offered support to the new group in Knocklyon.

[Also see the GROW website]

GROW Attends NUIG Volunteer Fair

Any chance to spread GROW’s message of ‘Promoting Positive Mental Health’ to the students of Galway is always gratefully welcomed. With over 15,000 full-time and part-time students, NUI Galway is an essential part of the fabric of Galway City. 

Recently, GROW was delighted to be invited to the annual NUIG Volunteer Fair, which took place directly after Fresher’s Week. It gave GROW the opportunity to recruit volunteers for upcoming projects.

The next upcoming GROW fundraising event in Galway is our annual street bucket collection, taking place on Thursday, October 6th. There was a great interest from attendees in helping out and plenty of volunteers signed up.

If you would like to volunteer for GROW’s annual street bucket collection in Galway on Thursday October 6th, please contact Paul on 087 4187714 or

[For more details, see the GROW website]

Mount Everest Climber Gives Talk on Reaching Goals in Aid of GROW

Come and join Mount Everest Summiteer Derek Mahon on October 6th at Skerries Rugby Club at 8pm.

Derek is an accomplished mountaineer having scaled Mount Everest and many more challenging mountains. Derek will be sharing his story and giving tips on how you can reach your goals.

The proceeds of the night will be go to GROW and Skerries Youth Support Services.

Tickets are available at The Snug on New Street or Skerries News Office at Thomas Hand Street. 

[For details see the GROW website]

GROW to Feature at Galway Mental Health and Wellbeing Fair

GROW will be among the organisations represented at the upcoming Mental Health and Wellbeing Fair, organised by St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS) in Galway.

The fair is the third of its kind to take place this year, with previous fairs held by SPMHS in Dublin and Cork. The event takes place from 11am to 4pm on Saturday, October 22nd in the Galway Bay Hotel, The Promenade in Salthill.

There will be free workshops throughout the day and an opportunity to meet organisations including local and national service providers, like GROW, and learn more about positive mental health and wellbeing. 

[For more details see the GROW website]

GROW Participates in Limerick Mental Health Week

GROW is helping to promote positive mental health by lending its support to Limerick Mental Health Week, which gets underway on Sunday, October 9th and continues until Saturday, October 15th.
Presently, GROW is featured extensively on Limerick Mental Health Association’s website while GROW also appears in a promotional video for Limerick Mental Health Week – click here to see the video.

As part of the week, GROW will host a ‘Taste of GROW’ event from 7-9pm on Tuesday, October 11th. The Taste of GROW question and answer session and GROW meeting will take place at GROW’s office at 33 Henry Street in Limerick. For more details, phone 061 318813. See also:
A full calendar of events for Limerick Mental Health Week is available online here.

GROW Delivers Presentation at Technology for Wellbeing Conference

GROW was among the organisations who not only attended, but delivered an excellent and very well-received presentation, at the annual Technology for Wellbeing Conference in Dublin.

The hugely successful conference, organised by ReachOut Ireland, was held on September 14th in the Marker Hotel, with an address by Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Helen McEntee T.D.

Board member Rob Stephen and Communications Officer Aisling Donnelly represented GROW at the event, with Rob delivering an excellent and informative presentation on GROW’s newsletter journey, from print to online.

The presentation was very well received, with lots of enthusiasm and interest exhibited by those in attendance. GROW’s presentation will shortly be appearing on ReachOut Ireland’s website.
[See also the GROW website

Eastern Region News

National Weekend
Members from the Eastern Region attended the GROW National Weekend in the Radisson Hotel, Athlone. The weekend's theme was 'Growth is Painful, but Permanently Rewarding'. It is hoped all members greatly enjoyed the weekend.
New Group
A new GROW group starts in the Iona Centre, Knocklyon, Dublin 16 on WednesdayOctober 12th. The Iona Centre is located directly behind Knocklyon Shopping Centre, Idrone Avenue, Dublin 16. The group is wished every success.

Pimlico Group Enjoys Outing to Powerscourt Gardens

The Pimlico GROW Group, which commenced in April 2016, recently enjoyed an outing to Powerscourt Gardens in Co. Wicklow.
The Pimlico Group meets at School Street Family Resource Centre and is a very successful and vibrant group.

The group is progressing very well in 12 Step work and organises interesting events and activities every month.
Aisling, who is the Group’s organiser, liaises with the local Community Gardai. The Community Gardai kindly provided a bus and a driver for the group’s day out and picnic at the beautiful surrounds of Powerscourt Gardens.
A sincere and heartfelt 'thank you' is extended to the Community Gardai for their support.

Midland Region News

Community Education Programme
GROW in Ireland, Midland Region continues to hold presentations in Edgeworthstown District Development Association's premises on The Green, Ballymahon Road, Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford from 7.30pm to 9.30pm on Mondays - October 10th, 17th and 24th

The topics are: Mindfulness, Managing Stress and Anxiety, Suicide Awareness and Prevention and How GROW Works. Each night is free to attend and all are welcome. 

Contact John 086 8033126 or come along on any night.
National Weekend 
Over 20 members from the Midland Region attended the GROW National Weekend in the Radisson Hotel, Athlone from September 30th to October 2nd. The theme of the weekend was 'Growth is Painful, but Permanently Rewarding'. It is hoped all members greatly enjoyed the weekend.

Walk in Limerick for World Suicide Prevention Day

Around ten people took part in a very pleasant guided walk around Limerick City on Saturday, September 10th to mark World Suicide Prevention Day

Guide Richard showed the walkers old maps and pictures and provided history about Limerick's key landmarks.

Afterwards, all had some refreshments and fine home baked goods in the GROW office in Henry Street. The feedback was very positive and the walk is expected to be repeated in the Mid West in the future.

The photo is of some of the group with King John’s Castle and the River Shannon in the background.

Large Numbers Attend GROW Coffee Morning for Suicide Prevention Day 

Large numbers turned out in Letterkenny in Co. Donegal for a GROW coffee morning held to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

The coffee morning took place in Mac’s Deli on the Highroad in Letterkenny on World Suicide Prevention DaySeptember 10th.

The event focused on the important message of World Suicide Prevention Day 2016 – ‘connect, communicate, care’.

Maria Whelan, GROW’s Area Coordinator, highlighted the importance of marking World Suicide Prevention Day.

“The reason we wanted to mark this important day is to firstly remember those lost through suicide and to also unite together to support those suffering from mental illness by highlighting that there is hope and support out there,” Maria emphasised.

Successful GROW Information Morning in Tullamore

A GROW information morning, held in the Library in O’Connor Square in Tullamore on September 28th, met with great response.

The information morning was held in advance of the commencement of a new GROW group which will get underway on WednesdayOctober 5th at 11am in Tullamore Library. All are most welcome to come along to this free weekly group meeting.

For more information, contact Assumpta 086 8114135 or come along on the morning.

[See also the GROW website]

GROW Coffee Morning for Kilkenny Mental Health Week

GROW is taking part in Kilkenny International Mental Health Week, which began on October 3rd and continues until October 15th. 

A series of events and activities have been organised under the theme of 'saying yes to supporting and understanding mental health in your community'.

Among the events is a GROW coffee morning, which will be held at 10am on Friday, October 7th in GROW's offices in Barrack Street in Kilkenny.

All are most welcome to come along to this free event.

[For more details see the GROW website]

GROW Talk in Lower Rosses in Co. Donegal

To celebrate World Mental Health Week, a weekend of events will be held in the Lower Rosses in Co. Donegal on October 8th and 9th

The weekend is being organised by Lámha: Life Affirming Mental Health Action and focuses on caring for our mental health, education, raising awareness and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. 

Majella O'Donnell, singer and founder of Donegal Mind Wellness, will be among the speakers. There will also be a presentation by GROW Area Coordinator Marian Maguire on Saturday, October 8th in Annagry.

Lifford GROW Group Resumes

The GROW group will be resuming in Lifford in Co. Donegal on October 18th.

The support group, which aims at promoting positive mental health, recommences in Lifford Day Hospital on TuesdayOctober 18th at 11.30 am.

The group is free to attend and all are welcome.

Contact 074 91 61628 or 086 770 2860 for more details.

GROW 'Open Meeting' for Carlow Mensana Fest 2016

GROW is among the organisations in Co. Carlow who are organising events and activities for Carlow's seventh annual mental health awareness week.

Carlow's Mensana Fest 2016 offers people practical ways to maintain and improve their mental health and resilience. People from all walks of life are encouraged to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health.

This year Carlow Mental Health Association, together with various Carlow town and county organisations, are delighted to offer a range of activities. 

Among these are a GROW Open Meeting in St. Catherine’s Community Services Centre, Station Road, Carlow on Tuesday, October 11th at 7.45pm. The open meeting will explain how GROW works, with members sharing some of their own stories. A warm welcome is extended to everyone, with tea and cakes provided.

For more information contact Mary Walsh 087 2843424.

GROW Radio Interview for Dundalk Positive Mental Health Week

GROW member Christina will feature on Dundalk FM from 10.15 to 10.30am on Monday, October 10th as part of Dundalk Positive Mental Health Week.

The radio interview is part of a series of events and activities organised as part of the week, which commences on Saturday, October 8th.

Throughout the week, the GROW Dundalk group are invited to attend all activities while GROW leaflets will be distributed at GROW’s information stand.

[For more details visit the GROW website]

GROW at Cork Adult Education Exhibition

GROW was among the organisations represented at the recent Cork Adult Education Exhibition which was held in Cork's City Hall.

There was huge interest from the public in GROW at the free education and training event, which took place from August 31st to September 2nd.

Those who attended the GROW stand showed great interest in the GROW Program as well as details of times and venues of local meetings.

Area Coordinator Treasa Twomey would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers for manning the stand over the exhibition's duration.

Tackling Social Anxiety 

Notes and thoughts from a South East GROW Group discussion

Isolation can deepen our depression. This may lead to a vicious circle of feeling less comfortable around people, then retreating more into ourselves, so we get caught in a deepening spiral of avoidance. A key ingredient of mental health is positive social connections. 

Coming to our first GROW meeting takes courage. We discover a safe place to start relearning social skills. The next step is to practice these skills in the wider community. However, we may need to ask why are we getting involved and what are our expectations (making choices for the right reasons). Ideally, involvement gives us a sense of both fun and doing our duty (responsibility).

[To read more visit the GROW website]

GROW Supports Laois Connects Week

GROW is promoting positive mental health in Co. Laois by supporting Laois Connects Week, which takes place from October 10th to October 15th

GROW’s involvement includes the hosting of a GROW stand in the HUB Unit in Portlaoise Shopping Centre from Midday to 5pm on Tuesday,October 11th.

GROW Area Coordinator, John Farren will give a talk on ‘The Meaning of Mental Health‘ in the Shopping Centre on October 11th from 12-1pm.

Later that evening, a talk will take place in Portlaoise Parish Centre at 7.30pm on ‘Caring For Yourself When The World Seems Overwhelming‘. The talk will be given by Stella O’Malley, psychotherapist, writer and counsellor with the National Counselling Institute of Ireland, on behalf of GROW.

At 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 12th  a talk on GROW and the various GROW Groups in Co. Laois will take place. There will also be a presentation by Area Coordinator John Farren on ‘How GROW Can Help You‘.

[See also the GROW website]

Community Education Programme in Tullamore

A GROW Community Education Programme will take place in the Central Hotel, Main Street in Tullamore, commencing on Thursday, October 27th.

The programme will continue on the following four Thursday evenings - November 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th

The topics are: 'Understanding and Promoting Mental Health', 'Mindfulness', 'Managing Stress and Anxiety', 'Suicide Awareness and Prevention' and 'How GROW Works'.

For more information, contact Assumpta on 086 8114135.

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