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This month we look at Step 11 of the GROW Program - "We grew daily closer to maturity" and we catch up on news from Mental Health Week events in October and upcoming events scheduled for November.
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Regard for Others

Regard for others starts with respect. When we don’t have respect for ourselves, we surely won’t have it for others. By behaving badly towards others we only isolate ourselves and lose contact with people, which in turn can make us lonely and bitter. Sometimes we use our struggles as an excuse to justify our bad behaviour – this is emotionally childish. No one is perfect – we need to learn tolerance just as others tolerate us. When we entertain these feelings and actions, it robs us of valuable friendships. It can also lead to a vicious circle of increasing frustration and conflict.

©  | Dreamstime Stock Photos - "GROWing to maturity..."

Nothing changes unless we change first – the process of change always starts with ourselves. Luckily we have the GROW Program to direct us on the journey to recovery. GROW talks about changing our (a) thinking and talk; (b) actions/behaviour; (c) relationships. As the saying goes: ‘Insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result’. In GROW we learn that changing ourselves will enable us to outgrow what we need to outgrow.

Disregarding the rights and feelings of others cuts ourselves off from living in harmony with those around us. If our only concern is ‘me, me, me’, people will find us boring and selfish. Instead of being able to contribute in a group setting, we are seen as a disruptive influence, that is best excluded. A vital part of our journey to recovery is learning to respect the rights and feelings of others. In GROW we learn that staying isolated only increases our suffering. We slowly become aware of how we can choose to handle our negative, disruptive feelings in a dignified, respectful manner. Learning how to cooperate takes much time and patience. GROW’s 6th Step states: ‘We endured until cured’. That’s what we need to do if we want to get well and maintain friendships with those around us.

The artist William Blake once wrote: ‘I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother, and I found all three’. A big part of GROW’s 11th Step (We grew daily closer to maturity) is recognising both our own and others vital needs. Maturing is learning how to reconcile such different (often conflicting) needs – not an easy task. GROW’s emblem is made up of the words ‘Truth’, ‘Character’ and ‘Friendship’. Real friendship can only develop if we have the character to be truthful with each other about our needs. This requires practising difficult skills like active listening and compromise. However the reward is genuine friendships based on trust and mutual respect. As we say in GROW: ‘Friendship either finds or makes people equal.’

The GROW in Ireland Newsletter Team

News and Updates from around the Country

GROWer Testimonies

There is a section on the GROW website where you can read testimonies from GROWers. We are very fortunate this month that two GROWers from Galway, Oliver and Alan, have allowed us to publish their stories and we are deeply grateful to them for sharing them with the wider community.
 

Oliver's Story

When I was first asked to become organiser for the Galway Monday morning group I was initially very nervous & apprehensive…would I be as able as the last organiser was? Would I do the job as well?

For the first few weeks I put the head down & persevered & stuck it out until I got used to the role. Then I gradually got more & more comfortable with it and I found I was able to do the job. That took a while.

Read Oliver's Full Story...
 

Alan's Story

I had a very happy childhood. I went to a rural all boys National School and was in a small class of 8 boys. My memories of that time are mostly of playing lots of sports and having the craic with my fellow students, I do not remember studying or learning anything in particular. There was no bullying whatsoever, indeed bullying was something I didn’t know existed until I went to secondary school.

From my first year in secondary school I was quite successful academically. Even though I was quite happy at school I found the weekends and holidays from school difficult. I would never see my classmates at the weekends or at Christmas, Easter or summer holidays. This was the start of the first time I ever felt feelings of depression. This was before the time of email or mobile phones or social media, these times were times of complete and utter isolation from my friends. In these dismal days I used to study hard, write melancholic poetry and just postpone my happiness to when I would be finished my leaving cert and be able to escape to a distant University.

Read Alan's Full Story...

 

National Weekend GROWer Survey 2014

During the course of the National Weekend and AGM in Galway (Sept 2014), there was a survey conducted amongst those attending. The purpose of the survey was to source anonymous information from those using the services of GROW with a view to further improving the services offered. There were some interesting findings which we would like to share.

How much has your mental health improved since first attending GROW?
  • 60% (150) of those attending (250) completed the survey.
  • As expected, about 65% of those at the weekend had been attending GROW for more than 3 years. This figure should be borne in mind whilst analysing the survey findings (i.e. national weekends are mainly attended by “seasoned” GROWers who are likely maintaining good mental health, rather than newcomers who are on their first steps to recovery).
  • 75% reported that their mental health had “improved greatly” since first attending GROW.
  • Whilst 76% of those attending were on medication at time of first attending GROW, 67% of respondents indicated that their requirement for medication had either reduced (46%) or ceased altogether (21%).
  • In terms of travel, over 75% travel to their weekly meeting by car, and 81% of journey times are under 30 minutes. Car travel is likely high as most meetings are held at night when public transport may not be available, and journey times under half an hour indicate that GROW has a good geographical spread nationally.
  • Interestingly, 40% of those surveyed lived alone which highlights the important social aspect which GROW provides which we know is in an important factor in looking after our mental health (i.e. avoiding isolation).
  • In terms of communication and technology 98% of respondents had both an email address and a mobile phone and over 50% had a Facebook account. This is an important factor when considering cost effective means of communicating with GROW members. However, only 25% subscribe to the GROW monthly email newsletter – though that was addressed during the weekend!
Read full Survey Results...
 

GROW Media & Leaflet Campaign

As those attending the GROW National Weekend in Galway will be aware, there is a 6 month PR campaign underway (Oct 2014 through to March 2015). The ambitious aim of this campaign is to increase GROW group attendance by 20%. This kicked off with the release of a couple of short videos which are hosted on GROW's You Tube Channel and which feature John & Christine from GROW and Dil Wickremasinghe (Global Village Show, Newstalk).

One video has been selected to feature in the 2014 Better Together Video Competition, so we would encourage everyone to vote on-line and share the link with friends, families and colleagues. Voting closes 21st November.

Surveys indicate that about 30% of GROWers first heard about GROW from a healthcare professional (GP, Nurse, HSE etc.). For this reason, GROW has a 6 month leaflet campaign with Inform to display GROW leaflets in approximately 1,300 GP surgeries and clinics nationwide. GROW leaflets and posters are available for download from the GROW website.

To support this effort, GROW will also have an information stand at the National Association of General Practitioners AGM in the Strand Hotel, Limerick, on Sat 15 Nov. In addition, during Mental Health Week, there were a number of press releases highlighting the success of peer support groups and a call on health professionals to make better use of community based self help groups.

 

Midwest Celebrates Mental Health Week

GROW in the Midwestern Region teamed up with Limerick Mental Health Association for a series of events as part of Limerick Mental Health Week. The week kicked off with the SMRC Urban Run and IrishTV.ie did a great feature on the event. Orla Muldoon, Professor of Psychology in UL, took a break from her Dublin City Marathon training to launch the Soul Survivors 3 book in the Limerick GROW Centre - Orla wrote the foreword to the book. There was a great atmosphere at the launch with plenty of people staying on for tea and sandwiches and to enjoy the music kindly provided by Limerick GROWer Noel. During the week GROW also participated in events in Ennis and Templeglantine.

Joan Diffley (GROW), Orla Muldoon (UL) and James Quilligan (GROW)

Last year the region hosted a very successful GROWer Training Day in the Savoy Hotel and this is to be repeated again this year on Sat 29 Nov. GROW will also be attending the Limerick Volunteer Management Conference in the Southcourt Hotel on Fri 14 Nov.
 

Busy Schedule in the Midlands

GROW Midlands recently held a successful regional book launch of Soul Survivors Vol. 3 at the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise.  The evening was well attended with over 30 people attending from the general Portlaoise area on the night.  Ms. Trudi Lalor acted as guest speaker on the evening with Christine Fitgerald (National Program Coordinator) taking on the role of MC.   Contributions were also provided by John Rice (GROW South East) and Michele Kerrigan (CEO).  A copy of Soul Survivors Vol. 3 has also been forwarded to all libraries in the four counties of Longford, Westmeath, Offaly and Laois.

GROW Midland Region will present two Gatekeepers’ Programmes starting in November.  The first course starts on Thurs 6th Nov in Portlaoise Parish Centre at 7.30pm and runs for 5 Thursday nights. The themes of the presentations are: -
  • Understanding and Promoting Positive Mental Health.
  • Mindfulness.
  • Suicide Awareness & Prevention.
  • WRAP(Wellness Recovery Action Plan).
  • Addiction/Nutrition.
The second Gatekeepers’ Programmes starts in St Peter's Community Centre, Kilcormac, Co Offaly on Mon 10th Nov at 7.30pm, and runs for 5 Monday nights. Content is similar to the Portlaoise course.  All Welcome.

GROW is also involved in Offaly Mental Health Talk Week (16-30 Nov) and Assumpta Lyons is involved in a number of presentations: -
  • Tues 19 Nov: Stress in the workplace, Central Hotel, Tullamore (11am-1pm).
  • Wed 20 Nov: The benefits of support organisations, Bury Quay, Tullamore (11am-1pm)
  • Thurs 28 Nov: Reach for the stars, Birr Youth Cafe (5:30-6:30pm).

Something from the South East


Pictured at the Spinal Injuries Ireland and Grow in Ireland mental health talk at the Woodlands Hotel on Wed 15th Oct 2014 were from left Shona McCarthy, Waterford Liaison Officer Spinal Injuries Ireland, Liam Lanigan Spinal Injuries Ireland, Caroline Crotty Area Co-ordinator, GROW in Ireland, John Lonergan, patron of GROW and Fiona Bolger, CEO, Spinal Injuries Ireland.  In Gorey, Ellen Ryle, Area Co-ordinator, had organised a number of coffee & chocolate events during mental health week and they went down a real treat.

One of the highlights of Mental Health Week took place when Dil Wickremasinghe did an outside broadcast of her Newstalk Global Village Show from the Woodford Dolmen Hotel on Sat 11th Oct as part of Carlow's Mensana Fest Week. Area Co-ordinator Mary Walsh contributed to this special programme and you can listen to the pod cast here.
 

Patrick's Day in Cork!

Those down in Cork are in the enviable position of getting a sneak preview of the award winning Patrick's Day film when it is shown on Fri 14th Nov as part of the Cork Film Festival. The film picked up multiple awards in the US and is due to go on general release in Ireland early in 2015. The film's main character, Patrick, suffers from a variety of mental health problems and the film has received many excellent reviews - "Few will be able to deny that Patrick’s Day is a superb piece of Irish cinema and one of the most important films of the year – unmissable."
 

Successful Galway CD Launch in aid of GROW & Pieta House

GROW recently hosted the launch of a new CD aimed at raising awareness around the topic of suicide prevention and mental health promotion. The launch took place in Zhivago Records, Galway on 16th October. It was a wet and windy evening, but a few brave souls combated the elements to attend.

Ruairi Powell & Paul Clabby (GROW), Gerry Kennedy (Songwriter), Tom McEvoy (Pieta House)

The aim of the CD fundraiser is to raise awareness in Galway about Mental Health and the importance of offering hope to reduce the stigma around the topic of Suicide. All funds from the sale of the CD will go to GROW & Pieta House. The launch was an open event, with guest speakers Paul Clabby (GROW Mental Health) & Tom McEvoy (Pieta House). Both gave information about their respective charities, and also gave information on how to donate to each charity.

The song, ‘Don’t Turn out the Light‘, is written by local musician Gerry Kennedy. Gerry wrote the song as a response to the passing of several people, mostly young, who found it impossible to carry on. He has kindly offered to donate 100% of the proceeds of the song to two Irish charities, namely GROW & Pieta House, whose mission is to strengthen mental health promotion & suicide prevention.

At the CD launch there was a playing of the song, plus information talks from GROW & Pieta House. To listen to the song search “’Don’t Turn out the Light Gerry Kennedy” on YouTube or visit theGROW Facebook page

To Donate €2: text GROW to 50300 or text PIETA to 50300. 100% of text cost goes to GROW/Pieta House across most network providers. Some providers apply VAT which means a minimum of €1.63 will go to GROW/Pieta House. Service Provider LIKECHARITY 014433890.
 

News from the North West and North East


As Part of Mental Health Awareness week in October, Marian Maguire & Maria Whelan (GROW Area Co-ordinators) had a GROW information stand and a talk on Emotional Wellness and the GROW Program in Gortahork (Co. Donegal).

Further east, the folks in Nobber (Co. Meath) are getting ready to welcome the Cycle Against Suicide team to the area on Sat 15th Nov. Further information and registration details.
 

GROW in America

We salute Lindsay Wheeler who, on this day 2nd Nov, completed the New York City Marathon (in just over 4 hours) in aid of our friends GROW in America. You can support her efforts here - she has currently raised almost $1,000. You can read Lindsay's inspiring story here, where she opens up and shares some thoughts which she posted on-line shortly after the tragic suicide of Robin Williams.

Congratulations to GROW in America who were honoured with a presentation of the 2014 Hobart Mowrer Award by the Self-Help Center of Family Service in Champaign. The awards are named after the late Hobart and Molly Mowrer, University of Illinois professors who did pioneering work in the development of self-help locally through the establishment of integrity groups in the 1950s. Today about 25 million Americans or 1 in 5 adults turn to self-help /support groups to help them cope with life’s challenges, such as bereavement, mental health, addictions, disability, parenting, health, abuse and more. Research has found self-help groups are an effective source of help that complement traditional professional services.
 

Short and Useful!

Here are a few useful, informative and interesting links which we came across during the past month or so and which are worth sharing with our readers. “You alone must do it, but you can't do it alone!” - Hobart Mowrer.
 
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