Step 11: We grew daily closer to maturity.
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November 2015 GROW in Ireland Newsletter

Ways to Keep Moving Forward

This piece exploring some aspects of Step 11 of GROW’s 12 Step Program, “we grew daily closer to maturity”, was written by Peter and features in GROW’s Soul Survivors 3 publication.

When I first joined GROW my fear was how would I spend all my free time when I’d have to retire in a few years. Work gave me value and a structure. In GROW I met a woman in her 80’s. What struck me was, despite her age, she had held on to a deep interest in life. Listening to her, I realized that you can teach an old dog new tricks. It may take longer, but it’s possible. Life can mould us a certain way. As we grow older we need to challenge ourselves to keep moving forward and doing new things, or we get trapped in our mould. By ‘moving forward’, I mean working towards improving myself in my mental, physical, social & spiritual health. To do this I need to be aware that the following necessary skills are required:
  • Knowledge: through knowledge I can deal with my own problems and gain a better understanding of myself. There are many ways for me to learn: regularly attending GROW and listening to what other GROWers says with an open mind; going for counselling and working on the insights that arise there; being open to new ideas I may come across in books, newspapers etc. The key to gaining knowledge is an open mind.
  • Experience: comes from gaining perspective on how I have managed or mismanaged issues in the past. However GROW is a great place to learn from other people’s experiences. If we are willing to listen there is so much we can learn from others. Desiderata says: “speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story”.
  • Friends: that we can confide in and trust prove that “friendship is the special key to mental health”. They may not have the answers but they will listen to you. Remember that it works both ways – to have a friend, be a friend.
  • Exercise: having reached retirement age and having more time to enjoy friendships, it is crucial that I have the energy to go out and meet people. The key to keeping the muscles from seizing up is to make exercise part of my everyday routine. So, as much as possible, I use the bike for doing daily errands or shopping, rather than the car. I have a pet dog (not a cat!) as he will nag me to take him for a walk. At my age little and often is the key!
  • Spiritual: good company, uplifting readings, meditation and finding simple ways to practice my faith – all these help me believe in myself and see the good in those around me.
I am retired ten years now. While I need to accept that I can’t do all the things I’d like to do, I still find plenty to keep me occupied. Retirement has given me the time and freedom to do whatever interests me. I choose to be grateful for all that I can do. Two sayings that mean a lot to me are: ‘change is a constant’, and ‘you can’t step into the same river twice’. What I take from this saying, is that like the river we need to keep moving – otherwise we become stagnant.

Poetry in Motion

The following is a poem composed by Mid West GROWer, Rose, following her first experience of a GROW National Weekend

On Friday night the AGM got lively
When Paul kicked off so passionate and fiery
Which set off others with the opposite view
The Chairman keeping peace between the two
- ‘Twas so exciting!

We’d all worked up an appetite by now
The food’s so yummy, staff should take a bow
Then back to hear the opening address
We’ve come from every county, more or less,
Our aim here to GROW....
[Read the full poem..]

You can find other poems by GROWers on our website.

The Power of Radio

If you missed the moving and powerful Mental Health Week interview between RTE's Sean O'Rourke and GROWers Josie and Mary, accompanied by GROW CEO Michele Kerrigan, you can listen to the podcast here.  The impact of such exposure on national radio is hugely positive. The below graphic illustrates a four-fold increase in visitors to the GROW website that day. So a big well done and thank you to Josie and Mary for bravely sharing their stories.

Meanwhile, over on Newstalk 106-108 FM, Simon Tierney continues his monthly Mental Wealth podcast series. The most recent episode features Laura Lee-Conboy discussing her daily battles with OCD.

GROWing Better Together!

As you might know, GROW entered a 2 minute video in the Better Together competition again this year. Many thanks to all those who contributed: Michele, Christine, Ann, Denis, Paddy, Padraig, Helen, Lody, John, Liz, Rosemarie, Jayne and Rob. Please vote daily and spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues. Voting closes on 20th November and the leader-board goes live on 9th November, so we hope, with your support, that we will be among the front runners! Winners will be announced by RTE Nationwide's Mary Kennedy at an awards ceremony in Dublin Castle on 9th December where Norah Casey is the guest speaker.

Vote Now: 

Or, you can use the short link: or the Vote Now link on our website homepage. Thank you!

Southern Region News

A BIG THANK YOU to all in the Southern Region who helped out at the recent fund raising events:-
  • Macroom Flag Day – 10th October 2015
  • Skibbereen Flag Day – 10th October 2015
  • Cork Mini- Marathon – 27th September 2015 – Congratulations to Siobhan Haskett for completing the 5km run & also to Zameel for her efforts in raising funds.
Not only did these events & fund raising days help us to rustle up more well needed funds for our organisation but it also provides another opportunity to raise awareness of GROW in the Community.
Thank you to all involved in helping to carry GROW's message to others in need.

Reminder that a Coffee Morning takes place in the GROW Office, 34 Grand Parade (1st Floor), Cork, on the last Friday of each month (10:30-12:30).

Western Region News

In Mayo during Mental Health Awareness Week, presentations were given to a number of organisations. These included the Castlebar Network, a network made up of professionals working in and around Castlebar in the community sector. The Network meets four times a year and gives an opportunity for organisations to share information about their work in an informal setting. At this meeting Shauna Jackson (Mayo Area Co-ordinator) gave an overview of GROW and a lively and informative discussion and Q and A on Community Mental Health supports ensued. Shauna also facilitated a talk to the Spinal Injuries Ireland group in Ballina. Members, friends and family attended and after a presentation on GROW, an open discussion took place covering many areas around mental health, but particularly around community supports, self-help and building resilience. This inspiring evening ended with tea and biscuits and lots of details being shared about the various community supports in Ballina.
Paul Clabby (Galway Area Co-ordinator) will be co-delivering a module entitled ‘Let’s GROW’ in Mayo Recovery College on Tuesday 3rd November 10-1pm. Mayo Recovery College is an exciting new initiative aimed at supporting a deeper understanding of mental health issues through dialogue and education. For more details on enrolling with Mayo Recovery College you can call 086 0294901 or for more information about Mayo Recovery College, see their Facebook page.

Midlands Region News

As part of Mental Health Week, on 7th October, GROW had a stand in the new shopping centre in Athlone. Pictured are Assumpta Lyons (Midlands Area Co-ordinator) and Fiona from Mental Health Ireland (event organisers).

Offaly Mental Health Talks Week takes place from 2nd to 8th November.  The theme of the week is that little things can make a difference.  It is based on the Little Things campaign.   As part of the week Assumpta Lyons, Area Co-ordinator, hosted an introduction to the week in Birr.  A free cuppa was offered to members of the public in Supervalu on Saturday 31st October and brochures were given out publicising the week.  On Thursday 5th November Assumpta will hold an information morning with tea/coffee  in the GROW Office, Patrick Street, Tullamore from 10.00am – 1.00pm.

Mid Western Region News

GROWers, staff and volunteers were involved in a number of well attended events as part of Limerick Mental Health Awareness Week. The week kicked off with a fascinating and topical Q&A type discussion on mental health and recovery with guest speakers Dr Terry Lynch (author of Beyond Prozac and more recently Depression Delusion - which we will be reviewing in this newsletter early in 2016); Brian McNulty (author of Embracing Sanity - who also spoke at the recent GROW National Weekend) and Dr Mike Watts (former GROW National Program Co-ordinator - who has a book in the pipeline about his PhD research).

Later on in the week there was a capacity crowd back in LIT to be entertained, humbled and moved by Dr. Fergus Heffernan. Many thanks to Limerick Mental Health Association and the LIT Department of Applied Social Sciences for facilitating these events.

Mary Purcell (Area Co-ordinator) delivered a talk on GROW in the Limerick Samaritans centre. This was part of a week-long series of #SAMTALKS.  GROWers and members of the Mid West Regional Team also provided information stands at a Mental Health event in Limerick Milk Market on 9th Oct; the Templeglantine Farm Safety seminar on 17th Oct and at the Lets Go Mental event in UL on 23rd Oct.

Many organisations involved in provision of mental health services in Limerick City came together on World Mental Health Day with a pop-up Mental Health information tent on Bedford Row, followed by a short remembrance walk along the Shannon to place some flowers in the river in remembrance of those lost to suicide. The week concluded in the wonderful sunshine on 11th Oct with participation by many in the SMRC Urban Run.

The week is a fine example of many organisations and volunteers co-operating and combining resources and skills to enhance the overall mental health of the local community. In fact, this week, on Friday 6th Nov, Limerick Volunteer Centre host the "Limerick Privilege" Volunteering Conference in Thomond Park. There is still time to book a place for this event.

Those involved in Mental Health in Limerick may also be interested in a mental health event scheduled for 6pm on Thurs 12th Nov in the Savoy Hotel, hosted by Sarah Jane Hennelly.

GROW has secured a Carol Singing slot in the Crescent Shopping Centre, 6-8pm, Mon 21st Dec. There is practice scheduled 8-9:30pm each Friday night in the Limerick GROW Office for those interested. Reminder that there is also a Coffee Morning on the last Friday of each month 11:30-1pm.

Upcoming GROW Courses

There are a number of GROW courses in progress or scheduled to commence during November.  Please see our website for full details: -
  • Wed 4th Nov, 7:30pm: St. Fintan’s Hall, Mountrath, Co Laois. Start of 4 week "Understanding and Minding your Mental Health with GROW" course. Contact John on 086-8033126 for details.
  • Thurs 5th Nov, 7:30pm: Prince of Wales Hotel, Athlone. How GROW Works. Final night of Athlone Community Education Course - all welcome!
  • Thurs 12th Nov, 7.30pm: Lifford Resource Centre, Lifford, Co. Donegal. Start of 4 week "Understanding and Minding your Mental Health with GROW" course. Contact Maria on 086-770-2860 for details.
  • Mon 16th Nov, 8.00pm: The Hive, Dublin Rd, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim. Start of 4 week "Understanding and Minding your Mental Health with GROW" course. Contact Noeleen on 086-8516939 for details.

Technology for Wellbeing Conference 2015 (#T4WB15)

ReachOut Ireland
will host the 3rd annual Technology for Wellbeing International Conference on Thursday, 12 November, in The Marker Hotel, Dublin. There is still time to register for this event: Tickets are €95 and student rate is €45.  The conference will be attended by a mix of service providers, policy makers, health managers, the technology sector, researchers, media, students and interested members of the public. Conference topics include: -
  • Innovation in technology and mental health;
  • Social media and mental health;
  • Suicide prevention and the internet;
  • Mental health promotion / public messaging online;
  • National policy in technology and mental health;
  • Good practice in the safe delivery of online mental health services;
  • Crisis response protocols;
  • Technology, cybersafety and young people;
  • Youth participation and engagement with online interventions.
Rob Stephen, Mid-West Regional Chairperson, who attended the inaugural 2013 conference, will be presenting a paper on Group Evaluation in GROW at one of the parallel sessions at this conference.

Odds and Ends

Here are a few snippets which may be of interest to our readers...

That Time of Year Again...

Now that Halloween is out the way, no doubt people will start thinking about Christmas.  Reminder to everyone that there are great packs of GROW Christmas Cards available in many GROW offices nationwide.  GROW publications also make wonderful gifts at this time of the year, so why not pick up a package of great value GROW books and help spread GROW's message!

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