Celebrating Mental Health Week 2015
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October 2015 GROW in Ireland Newsletter

GROW National Weekend and AGM

On 25th September, 240 people descended on the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone in glorious sunshine for the annual GROW National Weekend.  Spirits were high as people arrived and I think it’s fair to say that spirits remained that way for the whole weekend. 


The weekend began with a lively A.G.M. with lots of discussion and we saw the formation of our Board for 2015-2016 and launch of the 2014 Annual Report.  Following that a lovely evening was had with a fun quiz for those feeling lively and Mindfulness for people wanting something quieter.  Later in the evening we experienced a good GROW sing-song with some musicians joining in.
Saturday morning began with a testimony from a member in the North West region followed by the first of our guest speakers Psychologist, Padraig Collins (ARI).  Shortly after Ann Jeffers, Psychiatrist and Brian McNulty service user took to the stage for their presentation.  All speakers went down a storm with the audience and what they said was discussed throughout the halls long after they left.  Their insights into Ireland’s mental health services challenged us with the message that change is possible, but it takes time, commitment and collaboration.  The challenge is not just to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.  It is also to ensure that service users have a genuine way to actively participate in both their own recovery and the recovery of a mental health service that is often breaking down – ‘each person’s recovery or growth aids the transformation of the world’. [Read full article...]

"We" versus "They"

This piece exploring some aspects of Step 10 of GROW’s 12 Step Program, “we took our responsible and caring place in society”, was written by Carol Mussey from GROW in America.

In GROW we open our various leadership meetings with the Orientation Prayer, which begins with these words: United for the common goal of genuine human living, beyond our differences of natural endowment and social conditioning… Right from the start of each meeting, we orient ourselves in the direction of inclusiveness. We are usually certain about what brings us together in community—it is our common goals of genuine human living, recovery and personal growth, freedom and wholeness. But we aren’t always so sure about how to keep ourselves together. We can talk easily about community, but we aren’t always so good at getting beyond all our differences of natural endowment and social conditioning in order to keep our community healthy and whole.
Yes, our goal is to move beyond our differences, but this isn’t easy. We don’t always share the same point of view, our personalities vary widely, and our cultural backgrounds are diverse. All of our differences can work against our unity. We say that GROW is open to everyone, regardless of beliefs, but in practice we aren’t always open to everyone. Sometimes we are more exclusive than inclusive. [Read full article...]

Another One for the Bucket List!

Southwest Donegal Birdwatchers.

Our outing on the 26th of July was to Tory Island off the Northwest coast of the county. Our trips to Tory have become a bit of an annual event to see the charismatic Puffins, before they head way out into the Atlantic for the winter. In addition to all this, Tory is a fascinating place with its king, the ruins of an early monastic settlement, it’s vivid folklore, and a landscape that is simply stunning. It is something of a birdwatching Mecca and there is an annual Tory Island Bird Report that is available from the House of Books in Ballybofey.

We all made our way to the island at different times. Those that went over on Friday evening were treated to display from a group of cavorting dolphins; those who can over on Saturday morning saw the Manx Shearwaters and an Eider duck with chicks in the harbour.

I camped for the night, while a few more timid souls stayed in the hotel. It seemed like a good idea at the time. After three hours of lying in the tent listening to the love-sick rasps of a corncrake, I was developing a nervous twitch – I flinched every time the flash from the lighthouse lit up the entire tent. There are times in your life when you think that things cannot get any worse, and then they do; it was at that point that the torrential rain started to hammer down on the tent – at least I couldn’t hear the corncrake any more! After what seemed like an eternity of this Abu Ghraib style assault on the senses, I finally went to sleep… then the sun came up at 5:33am. [Read full article...]

Review of "The Ward" by Galway GROW Writers Group

Following on from the success of 2014, the Galway GROW writers group broadened its horizon for 2015.

Last year the group published a collection of individual writings entitled, “Every Second Monday”. This year it took on a larger group project; writing & producing a dramatic play.

The play, “The Ward”, focussed the theme of experiences within the mental health services. This play took its inspiration from the Chekov Short story, “Ward No.6”. Chekov’s story focussed on experience of the mental health services in Russia at the end of the 19th century. It looked at experiences from the angle of both doctor and patient, and how the interactions can either positively or negatively affect one another. [Read full article...]

Celebrate Mental Health Week

Saturday 10th October 2015 is designated World Mental Health Day, with the theme of Dignity. GROW and many of our partner organisations in the Irish Mental Health service sector in Ireland will be hosting a range of interesting, informative and fun events in the week before and after Mental Health Day.

GROW Hosted Events
  • See all upcoming GROW Events and GROW Community Education Courses - there are a number of courses in progress or starting soon:
    • Lus na Greine FRC, Granard, Mon 5th Oct 7:30pm.
    • Prince of Wales, Athlone, Thurs 15th Oct 7:30pm.
    • Fintan’s Hall, Mountrath, Wed 4th Nov 7:30pm.
    • Ionad Teampall Chroine, Dungloe, Tues 6th Oct 7:30pm.
  • GROW Annual Bucket Collection & Information Stand, Shop St, Galway, Fri 9th Oct 10am-4pm.
  • “Nurturing Happiness & Contentment”: John Lonergan (Patron of GROW) with Caroline Crotty (GROW Area Coordinator), Free Talk, Wed 14th Oct @ 7:30pm, Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy.
  • Free Mental Health Awareness Programme,  Sophia House, Tubbercurry, Sligo. Mon 5th 8pm; Tues 6th 8pm; Sat 10th Oct 11:30-1pm & 2-3:30pm.
  • Your mental health and caring for it”: In this workshop we try to get a snap shot of how much balance we have in our lives. It will provide you with some basic tools to help you achieve a better sense of a balanced lifestyle. No booking is necessary, just come along.  For more information call Ellen on 087-2291718 or
    • Arklow, Arus Lorcain Centre, Mon 12th Oct 11.30-12.30.
    • Tullow, Forward Steps, Tues 13th Oct  11-12.
Events in which GROW is involved
  • Fri 2nd October – GROW will be taking a stand at the Killybegs Primary Care Team event on “Healthy Lifestyle”. The purpose of the event is to promote what health and community / voluntary services are available in the Primary Care Team area - Health and Well Being Poster.
  • Limerick Mental Health Awareness Week 2015 (4-11 October), including the SMRC Urban Run; See Full Event List for Limerick 4-15 October which includes a discussion and Q&A session on “Paths to Recovery” in LIT, Mon 5th Oct @ 7pm, featuring Dr Terry LynchDr Mike Watts PhD and Brian McNulty.
  • Mary Purcell, “How Grow Works”, as part of Samaritan #SAMTALKS, Barrington St, Limerick 9pm Thurs 8th Oct.
  • Connect Mental Health, Donegal (8-10 October). GROW North West Region will be providing information and talks on Sat 10th October 2015 in the Abbey Centre, Ballyshannon.
  • Athlone Mental Health Association and Mullingar Mental Health Association have two weeks of events from 5-15th Oct in various venues in Athlone & Mullingar.
  • Meath Mental Health Week: See full timetable of events from 4-10th Oct, including “Tips on Good Mental Health” from Mary French, GROW, Fri 9th Oct Trim Parochial Centre 11am.
  • Donegal Town Family Resource Centre: Fri 9th October from 11am to 1pm – GROW Information Stand to promote Mental Health Week in Donegal Town.
  • Mental Health Week Information Stand at Solace event in the Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan on 9th October.
Other Events of Interest Other Useful Resources on Mental Health Week Events

Leadership Course Update

Congratulations to all in the Southern Region who graduated from the ‘Personal Growth and Community Building through Leadership’ course last Friday, 18th September 2015.  A celebratory dinner was held at the Ambassador Hotel, Cork, to honour the hard working recipients, who were the first group in the Southern Region to graduate from this course in 2015.

All 12 GROWers were delighted to have participated and graduated from the Leadership course, which they claimed has helped them to better understand how GROW works, has further enhanced their leadership abilities and will, going forward, help them to pass on the “Leadership Bug” throughout the Southern Region and further afield. Well Done to all! 

GROW Community Education Courses

GROW Midland Region is holding a Community Education Programme in Lus na Greine Familly Resource Centre, Granard, Co. Longford on Mondays 5th, 12th & 19th October.  A Community Education Programme will also be held in Athlone in the Prince of Wales Hotel on Thursdays from 15th October to 5th November inclusive.  The final Community Education Programme in the Midlands will be in St. Fintan’s Hall, Mountrath, Co Laois on Wednesdays 4th November to 25th November inclusive. All talks start at 7.30pm.  The content of the four weeks is:
  • “Understanding Your Mental Health/What Threatens Your Mental Health”;
  • “Resilience”;
  • “Managing Stress and Anxiety”;
  • “How GROW Works”.
For further information contact 057 93 51124 or visit GROW website.

GROWing Better Together

Many thanks to Michele, Christine, Ann, Denis, Paddy, Padraig, Helen, Lody, John, Liz and Rosemarie who contributed to GROW's Better Together Video for 2015 and to (very amateur) producers Jayne and Rob. The video will shortly be available on the Better Together website where we would encourage all our supporters to vote (daily!) and also to share it. Let's get GROW's message of hope and recovery out there to those in need, Here's a sneak preview. Enjoy!
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