We took our courage in our hands and asked for help (GROW Program, Step 2)
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It's OK not to feel OK, and it's OK to ask for help

This month, we focus on Step 2 of the GROW Program: "We took our courage in our hands and asked for help". Some readers may be more familiar with the original wording: "We firmly resolved to get well and co-operated with the help we needed". Those in GROW will also know that "if you need help, help others, and to help others best, let them help you" (i.e. the whole principle of mutual help). We all know how hard it can be to ask for help - how many of us have wasted precious time or worse, got hopelessly lost, by simply failing to ask for directions; and, how many of us have been stopped by a stranger looking for directions and been only delighted to assist and to engage in some social interaction?

On 15th January, GROW had a stand in the RDS, where a massive crowd (4,000) of students and teachers were attending the inaugural Cycle Against Suicide Student Leader's Congress. The key message at that event was that "it's OK not to feel OK, and it's OK to ask for help". This is very much in tune with Step 2 of the GROW Program - mental health problems (just like any other problem) arise in life for many people - it is something which happens to people; it's part of life. The important thing is that we swallow any misplaced pride and deal with our problems by asking for help. As the rain beats down outside, imagine if the roof was leaking - we certainly wouldn't just ignore it - we would phone someone to help fix the problem.

Please check our website for some personal views on Step 2 from the perspective of a number of different GROWers. You might like to check out Step 1 first.
New Year's Day Charity Swim in aid of GROW
New Year's Day Charity Swim in aid of GROW

News, updates and events from around the country

A Living Word (Part 2) - Mike Watts

Years ago, before the time of mental hospitals or the concept of community care, people who became seriously mentally ill were likely to be either incarcerated at home or sent off to wander the roads of Ireland. The incarceration would be in attics, if the houses were large, or in makeshift pits covered with an iron grid, if, like most, the house was small. Joe Robins, in his book Fools and Mad, talks of a lake in Kerry which was said to have special healing powers for anyone affected by madness, and many of those who were thrown out of, or who left, their homes made their way southwest in search of healing. In this part of Ireland one of the commonest wild flowers is the fuchsia. Its name in Irish is Deora Dé, which means ‘Tears of God’.

Read full article...

A Vision for Change - 8 Years on

Most of those within the mental health sector in Ireland will be well acquainted with the Vision for Change policy document (published 2006) which states: Each citizen should have access to local, specialised and comprehensive mental health service provision that is of the highest standard. From the executive summary of that document: "A Vision for Change details a comprehensive model of mental health service provision for Ireland. It describes a framework for building and fostering positive mental health across the entire community and for providing accessible, community-based, specialist services for people with mental illness".

Over the past few weeks, Dr. Shari McDaid has been very active within the media discussing progress to date. Please see Mental Health Reform website for links.

Gorey Youth Workshop

Are you feeling stressed or bored?
Have you family issues, or relationship problems?
Worried about the future, or isolated?
Feeling alone, depressed, or anxious?
GROW can help you learn ways to manage these struggles:
Come along to our new ten week program for “Young Adults” (18-25 yrs) in the Gorey, Arklow, Enniscorthy area.

Gorey Youth Needs
St Michael’s Road, Mary Ward Lane, Gorey.
(Beside Gorey Community school)
Tuesdays @4pm from 18th of February.

Contact Ellen on 087 2291718 or email for more information.
Places are limited so book a place early to avoid disappointment. 

Mental health can’t be taught – it has to be learned together.

Balbriggan Group on the Move

The Balbriggan GROW group was opened in November 2009 and is a credit to the members attending. There is a core group of three members (Michael, Billy & Theresa) who have worked very hard over the years to help the group to GROW and there are currently about eight active members. The group initially met in an old school house, moving in 2010 to the Laurena Day Centre on Dublin Street for the past three years. Area Co-ordinator, Louise Cleary, and the members of the group would sincerely like to thank the staff in the Laurena Centre for all their help and encouragement over the past three years.

The group is re-locating to the Community Centre (23 Dublin Street, Balbriggan) on Feb 10th 2014. Meeting time remains unchanged (Mondays at 2.30pm to 4.30pm). This is a very positive move for the group and will allow the Balbriggan community to be more aware of GROW and allow for easy access to becoming a member of the group.

Singing and Swimming in the Rain

GROW is always indebted to those volunteers who organise fundraising events - it is no easy task in this day and age. Over the Christmas period Noreen Kenny from the GROW Regional Team organised a joint Carol Singing fundraiser with Pieta House in Galway City, with the help of the voices from the Victory Church. A total of €2,000 was raised between the two charities. Meanwhile up in Donegal, former Regional Chairperson Josephine Keaveney persuaded the hardy members of the DOE Amateur Swimming Club in Dunfanaghy to donate the proceeds of their Annual New Year's Day Charity Swim to GROW, which is expected to raise in excess of €2,000.

Read the full article...

GAA Healthy Club Project (Nenagh)

Members from the very strong Nenagh GROW group had an information stand at a recent well attended Nenagh Eire Og Mental Health event on Fri 24th Jan. Nenagh Eire Og is one of the 18 clubs selected to pilot the innovative GAA Healthy Club Project. This project "aims to highlight and re-enforce the great work already being done by clubs while assisting them in identifying and responding to the most important health issues amongst their membership and in their communities". Well known GAA star Conor Cusack was one of the key speakers at the event.

Interestingly, one brave GROWer from Tipperary, 4 times All Ireland Hurling legend, Mackey McKenna, was also there and during the past week Mackey has shared some of his personal story on local radio and in the Nenagh Guardian.

Dungarvan Mental Health Conference

Waterford County Council recently hosted a public conference on "Supports and Developments in Mental Health Care", in the Park Hotel, Dungarvan (31st Jan - 1st Feb). A range of speakers provided a wealth of expert advice and information on a wide range of issues surrounding mental health and suicide.  

GROW South Eastern Regional Chairperson, Sr. Gertrude Howley, was one of the key speakers on the Friday night, along with Conor Cusack. Those who are fortunate to have heard Gertrude before will know that she is a powerful speaker and delivers excellent workshops. Hopefully we will get a full report on this event for the March Newsletter.

Facebook Updates

GROW passed the 4,000 Like mark on Facebook this week. That's a 25% increase since Christmas. Please like and share GROW's Facebook page to keep up to date with what's going on in your locality,


Book Launch in Kilkenny

Over the coming months, GROW will be hosting a number of book launches to promote Soul Survivors 3 around the country. The first of these kicks off in Stonehouse Books, Kilkenny at 6pm on Thurs 20th February. There will be Music, Refreshments, Story Telling, Hope & Direction. Dr Fergus Heffernan, Dr Ronan Fawsitt & Dr Mike Watts will be on hand to say a few words. All welcome.

There is still a special offer available for a limited time only on a set of three GROW publications (Soul Survivors 2 & 3 and GROWing to Maturity) for €20 including postage (within Ireland  only).  Cheques should be made payable to GROW in Ireland and posted to: GROW, Ormonde House, Barrack Street, Kilkenny.


Charity Ceili in Dublin

Come and celebrate the ancient festival of Imbolc with a feast of live dance and music. The Grand Social, Wed Feb 12th 8pmThe Grand Social, 35 Lr Liffey St, Dublin.

Find a partner and learn some lively traditional set dances! With sean-nós dancing displays and live music from TAC (Traditional Arts Collective).

Tickets €10 only. All proceeds go to GROW, Mendicity, Threshold, Console and Friends of The Royal Hospital Donnybrook.

Run Mount Juliet

Registration for those wishing to participate in Run Mount Juliet (Half Marathon, 10k, 3k) closes this Wed 5th Feb. The event takes place on Sat 15th Feb. As you may already know, Mount Juliet will be donating a brand new 2014 Toyota Yaris to one lucky charity on the day. GROW is one of the 3 nominated charities and to ensure that we are in with a good chance of winning the Yaris, we urge you and your friends to register a Vote for GROW on their website.

"In the midst of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer" 
Albert Camus.

Community Education Update

A crowd of over 50 turned out in The McCauley Centre, Templemore, last Thurs 30th Jan, for the start of a 4 week “Understanding and Minding Your Mental Health” course. Mary Purcell and the Mid West team did a great job and were ably assisted by Jon Kenny (one half of the famous D'Unbelievables duo) who spoke at the event. There was great support from the nearby Nenagh GROW members and the hope is to re-start the Templemore GROW group this year.

There are two other Community Education courses commencing during February. All GROW's Community Education courses are currently free, thanks to HSE Funding, but booking is essential: -
  • Cara Phort Family Resource Centre, Harbour Street, Ballynacargy, Co Westmeath.  Five consecutive Tuesdays starting on 18th Feb at 7.30pm. Contact Assumpta 086-811-4135.
  • Fenagh Visitor Centre, Fenagh, Co. Leitrim. Four consecutive Wednesdays starting 12th Feb at 8.00pm. Contact Noeleen on 086-851-6939 or the GROW office on 074-91-6628.
Full details available on GROW website, which will be updated as new events are arranged during 2014.

Mind Ur Health - Limerick

A novel Mind Ur Health mental health event is taking place on Sun 23rd Feb in Gandelows, Howleys Quay, Limerick, from 10:30am to 6pm. Entry fee of €5 only or book on-line via

The event consists of an exhibition with over 30 exhibitors including: -
  • Mental Health Organisations (GROW, Samaritans, HSE, Limerick Mental Health, Pieta House).
  • Holistic Therapies/Therapists covering a large range of Complementary & Alternative Medicine.
  • Diet/Nutrition Information.
  • Exercise Information.
  • Medical Practitioners.
There will also be 7 free public lectures throughout the day, on topics such as: -
  • Panic/Anxiety Attacks: A Solution - Anna Gibson-Steel HCE.
  • Suicide - A Survivor’s Story.
  • Herbs for Your Mental Health - Sarika Hule Herbalist/Naturopath.
  • Holistic Healthcare; a solution for depression - Anna Gibson-Steel CEO Holistic Centre of Excellence.
  • Looking After Your Mental Health - Bernie Carroll HSE/NOSP.
  • Experiencing Happiness  - Catherine McGeachy - Author, Lecturer, Consultant.

Support Mental Health Research

From time to time GROW receives requests from individuals seeking to undertake research into different aspects of Mental Health. Currently there are researchers looking for volunteers to participate in the following studies: -
  • Have you attended a Mental Health Tribunal? Would you be willing to talk about your experiences?
  • A father’s experience of having a child in counselling.
To find out more about these projects or to get involved please check our website.

No Limbs, No Limits Documentary

The inspirational documentary about Joanne O'Riordan is being screened in the Savoy Cinema on Sat 15th Feb at 11am as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. Phone 01-6877974 for tickets. Early booking advised as a sell out show is expected based on turnout at the Premier in the Cork Opera House in the autumn.

"Each player must accept the cards life deals him.  But once they are in hand, he alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game" – Voltaire.

Run or Cycle for GROW

There are a number of marathons, 10k events and Charity Cycles taking place over the coming months and GROW has a few people taking part in these. If you are involved in running or cycling, why not do some fundraising for GROW at the same time. Just contact your local GROW office for a sponsorship card or register with iDonate. We hope to have some nice running and cycling tops available for these events (Great Limerick Run - 4th May; Flora Women's Mini Marathon - 2nd June). Watch this space...

GROW Meetings

A reminder that GROW group support meetings take place in over 100 locations nationwide every week. Meetings are free, open to all and last about 2 hours. They are generally followed by tea/coffee. When someone is very depressed however, it can be difficult to first attend a meeting with a group of strangers - but it is perfectly acceptable to attend with a friend or family member for the first few nights. Health care workers are also welcome to attend a meeting as an observer in order to help them understand How GROW Works.

The Last Word

Thanks for reading. If you have comments or suggestions, please reply by email. Deadline for submissions for our March newsletter is Thurs 27th Feb.

The GROW in Ireland Newsletter Team
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