Friendship is the special key to Mental Health. Celebrate Mental Health Week 2013 with GROW in Ireland.
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Celebrate Mental Health Week 2013 with GROW

World Mental Health Day is a yearly event celebrated on 10th October around the world. The day was created by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to raise public awareness of mental health issues. This year, the WHO are focusing on Depression. It’s thought that around 154 million people around the world suffer from depression, so it’s likely that you or someone you know will be affected by mental illness during your lifetime. World Mental Health Day aims to get us all talking openly about mental illnesses and the treatment, prevention and recovery models that are available to us all.

During the course of World Mental Health Week GROW in Ireland will be visible on the streets collecting for its National Flag Day.  If you or any of your friends would like to give an hour or to to assist us with our collection please contact your local regional office. If you are out and about and see our orange buckets, we look forward to your support!

GROW and a number of other mental health organisations are hosting a variety of events throughout Mental Health Week (7-12 October). Check on-line for full up to date details and times. The main GROW events are listed below: -
  • Friday 4th Oct: BBQ & Music Night, Dungarvan;
  • Monday 7th Oct: Coffee morning in Limerick City; Introduction to WRAP in Bruff, Co. Limerick; Youth needs - women's group, Gorey; 
  • Tuesday 8th Oct: Introduction to WRAP, Limerick City; 
  • Wednesday 9th Oct: Flag day on-street collections in various parts of the country; Coffee morning and Managing Stress event in Gorey;
  • Thursday 10th Oct (World Mental Health Day): Flag day on-street collections in various parts of the country; Coffee morning in Limerick City; Music, story telling & poetry in Fusion Cafe, Wexford; Commencement of 10 week Better choices for Happiness course in Dungarvan (sold out).
  • Friday 11th Oct: Flag day on-street collections in various parts of the country; Youth needs - Coffee morning in Gorey;
  • Saturday 12th Oct: Participation in I Love Limerick Volunteer Fair.
  • Tuesday 22nd Oct: Tully’s Hotel, Castlerea, public talk about GROW and about Suicide Prevention.
The GROW in Ireland Newsletter Team

Friendship - The Special Key to Mental Health

On joining GROW we may have hit rock bottom, and see ourselves as undeserving of friendship. This is where it is crucial that the group show their belief in each person and love the person back to health. Such love and acceptance can help kick-start our slow rise from the bottom. However we must learn at some stage to trust the group. The group can carry GROW’s message of love and hope, but they cannot carry the person.

We need to start by having a healthy, accepting relationship with ourselves. If we lack self-esteem, we may believe others are perfect, on a different level to us. This is stinking thinking. We can beat this bluff and believe that friendship either finds or makes people equal. Accepting friendship requires learning to value ourselves and what we have to offer. Over time we can learn to enjoy our own company more, rather than having a constant undercurrent of loneliness and depression. Developing this more mature attitude will enable us to find the friends for living that we all need. Read More...

Australians Reach Out and Inspire in Dublin at #T4WB13

The Australians have a habit of being innovate in Mental Health. Just as GROW started in Australia in 1957 and came to Ireland in the 1960′s, came into being some 40 years later in Australia and was launched in Ireland in 2010 as an initiative of Inspire Ireland., which focuses on young people’s mental health, was the first on-line mental health service and was conceived in that era before Facebook when the internet was just starting to grow.

ReachOut’s inaugural International Technology for Well Being Conference, which took place in Dublin on 25-26 September, was attended by GROW and it proved to be a huge success. The organisers should be congratulated on a job well done. Read More...

GROW Featured in Irish Medical Times

The Irish Medical Times, which is a publication geared primarily at healthcare professionals, has two articles featuring GROW this month: In "A GROWing Concern in Mental Health", Michele Kerrigan, CEO, speaks to Pat Kelly about GROW's initiatives, future plans and unique recovery model and the workings of GROW are explored further in "GROW Celebrates Mental Health Week".

GROW at the Ploughing Championships 2013

GROW's attendance at this year’s Ploughing Championships was a resounding success for all involved.  A large number of people visited the stand over the course of the three day event.  Most queries related to group locations while others enquired as to what GROW did and where we were based.  In general it was a fantastic opportunity to engage with a large number of people and get the word out as to the work carried out by GROW across the country.  Indeed we were given the opportunity to promote our message to both Simon Coveney Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Richard Bruton Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.  Both members of Government were inquisitive and enthusiastic of the services GROW provide.

Many thanks are extended to all who helped out in this year’s Ploughing Championships on behalf of GROW in Ireland. 

GROW AGM and National Weekend

The GROW in Ireland National Weekend and AGM takes place from 18-20 October in the Radisson Blu, Athlone. Over 200 GROWers and staff will be in attendance. The theme for this year's weekend relates to the GROW saying, "You alone can do it, but you can't do it alone", which builds Resilience & Social Inclusion. An interesting series of talks, workshops and events are planned over the course of the weekend, kicking off with the AGM on Friday at 5pm.

The highlight will be the official launch of the Journeying to Mental Health booklet by John Lonergan.

With a bit of luck, we might get a sneak preview of the new Soul Survivors 3 book (personal stories of suffering and recovery through GROW), which is currently being printed. This follows on from the highly successful Soul Survivors 1 & 2.

Great credit is due to the GROW Program Team and all who have worked so tirelessly on these publications (Mike Watts, Stan Mellett, Gertrude Howley, John Rice, Christine Fitzgerald, to name but a few).

Ireland's Best Kept Secret?

Some people, when they first encounter and benefit from GROW's unique 12 step programme of recovery, only wish they had found out about GROW sooner, whilst others say GROW is (unfortunately) Ireland's best kept secret. Efforts have been stepped up over the past year or so to address this.

The new website was launched in 2012, thanks to the South Eastern Region who funded the bulk of this development. The GROW in Ireland Facebook page has been overhauled and "Likes" have increased by 300% in the past 6 months, partly as a result of attending a Charity workshop hosted by Facebook in Dublin. GROW helped out at a number of the Cycle Against Suicide stops during May and 30,000 leaflets were distributed during Fresher's Week. A new poster is being launched and this will feature in a bus shelter advertising campaign during October.

Regional offices have also played their part by promoting GROW and the Community Education / Gatekeeper events in local papers, radio etc. Indeed, this eNewsletter is another mechanism employed to get the message out there, so do your bit and spread the word - it could change someone's life forever.

Mens Sana in Corpore Sano

This famous Latin saying, generally translated as a "healthy mind in a healthy body", is the motto for Community Games, who, like GROW, also receive support from the Health Service Executive. What's the connection? It is generally recognised that there are many mental health benefits associated with exercise. Furthermore, there are runs, walks, swims and climbs taking place weekly all over Ireland and these provide a great opportunity for people to get active, set targets - not to mention get some sponsorship and raise funds for charities, such as GROW in Ireland.

In May, GROWers from the Mid-West took part in the Great Limerick Run and in July a supporter took to the Lee for the Vibes and Scribes annual swim. The well known Dr. Fergus Heffernan is taking to the streets on 28th October in the Dublin City Marathon, in aid of GROW. Sponsorship cards are available from the Kilkenny office 056 7761624. Dr. Heffernan is also in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, on Tuesday 8th October (8-9:30pm) presenting a talk entitled: Creating Positive Mental Health in the Family.

If you would like to raise funds for GROW at any of these numerous events, please get in touch - we'd love to hear from you and can promote your efforts.

Understanding and Minding Your Mental Health

The free 4 week Understanding and Minding Your Mental Health with GROW courses (also known as Gatekeeper Courses) continue to be held in all regions. Each region will be hosting these courses a few times a year. The recent event in the Clarion, Limerick, was heavily over-subscribed so there is obviously a demand for this type of event. Check the link above for details and booking information.

The next courses starting are:-
Tues 8th Oct: Portlaoise Gatekeeper's Course. Contact John 086 8033126 or 057 93 51124.
Thurs 17th Oct: Athlone Gatekeeper's Course. Contact Assumpta 086 811 4135 or 057 93 51124.
Thurs 17th Oct: Drogheda Community Awareness Programme. Contact Roseanna on 086-054-7472 or 074-91-61628.
Thurs 7th Nov: Loughrea Understanding and Minding your Mental Health Course. Contact Paul on 087-4187714.


Once upon a time, a man decided to start a flower garden. He prepared the soil and planted the seeds of many beautiful flowers, but when they came up, his garden was filled not just with his chosen flowers but also overun by dandelions. He sought out advice from gardeners all over and tried every method know to get rid of them but to no avail.

Finally, he walked all the way to speak to the royal gardener at the king's palace. The wise old man had counseled many gardeners belore and suggested a variety of remedies to expel the dandelions but the man had already tried them all. They sat together in silence for some time and finally the gardener looked at the man and said "Well, then, I suggest you learn to love them" (GROW Eastern Region News).

Sow a thought and reap an act
Sow an act and reap a habit
Sow a habit and reap a character
Sow a character and reap a destiny.

Focus on the North West

Josephine Keaveney has stepped down after 5 years as chairperson in the North West. Josephine has worked tirelessly for the North West region and has given so much of her time like many other chairpersons around the country. Her dedication, commitment and bubbly personality has helped and supported so many. She has always been a pleasure to work with so we would like to say a huge thank you. She is a true example of how hard working and important our volunteers are in the running of the GROW organisation. We also take this opportunity to welcome the new regional manager, Martin Cadden.

GROWers in the north west made full use of the spectacular scenery of that region, with their Regional Weekend in Buncranna and an outing to the Giant's Causeway and Derry City. It is also a region brimming with talent and local man Sean Feeny released a CD compilation in support of GROW and the Simon Community and also held a few local concerts. These also helped to raise the profile of GROW in the region. Full details of all the activities of GROW in the North West can be found on our blog.

College Update

Following on from the distribution of 30,000 GROW Stress or Distress leaflets during Fresher's Week, GROW staff will have a presence in the following colleges on World Mental Health Day, 10th October 2013.
  • Dundalk Institute of Technology
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • Cork Institute of Technology
  • DCU
  • Waterford Institute of Technology

Like Charity

During Mental Health Week, GROW will be launching a Like Charity Text Donation service. This is an innovative way for people to give a small donation (e.g. €2) to charities by simply texting a keyword to the designated number. The Like Charity service was launched in early 2013 and since then about €100,000 per month has been donated to various charities. This will be a great opportunity for GROWers and supporters to contribute towards Dr. Fergus Heffernan's Dublin City Marathon!

Volunteering for GROW

There are countless people throughout Ireland who volunteer for GROW on a weekly or monthly basis - namely all our Organisers, Recorders and Leaders (who run the weekly meetings), our Regional Teams (who work with staff to manage GROW's regional operations), our National Executive (Board) and our National Program Team (responsible for literature, training and education). There are many others who help out at regional events (fundraisers etc.). As John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address, "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country", and so the same applies at all levels of society. What's more, volunteering has many positive health benefits and within a GROW context, volunteering (giving back) is a fundamental component of our journey of recovery.

Speaking of volunteers, if there are people out there who wish to get actively involved in this monthly eNewsletter, please drop us an email. Many hands make light work!

No Limbs No Limits

By now, most people have heard the inspirational, infectiously positive and heartwarming story of Joanne O'Riordan, one of only seven people in the world living with a rare physical disability known as Total Amelia (she was born without limbs). Her brother, Steven, has produced a documentary which premieres in the Cork Opera House this Sunday, 6th October. Due to demand, the entire Opera House has been opened up and the expectation is that there will be a full house.

And Finally...

  • Each person's recovery of growth aids the transformation of the world (GROW Blue Book).
  • Confidence is not a feeling but an attitude of mind (GROW Wisdom).
We hope you have enjoyed this October newsletter. Please share with friends, family and colleagues. Don't hesitate to email the GROW in Ireland Newsletter Team if you have comments, suggestions or feedback. Thank you for reading and a Happy Mental Health Week to you.
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