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September 2015 GROW in Ireland Newsletter

Developing Will Power with GROW

This piece on Step 9 of GROW’s 12 Step Program, “we developed will power to do the right thing in spite of our feelings”, was submitted by Brigid from the South East Region.
Sive and Assumpta at the Coca Cola Charity Cycle in aid of GROW (Athlone, 22nd Aug)
Looking at this step initially, I wondered if I’d learned to govern my feelings at all. Every year I say the same thing at Christmas ‘Those Ferrero Rocher will be the death of me!’ and I have to admit to having a bit of an addiction to clothes. In my defence they are usually bought in charity shops but I know it’s a bit of a problem when each time I open my press some item of clothing inevitably hits me on the head.

Looking at the bigger picture, one of the most important things GROW teaches is that nobody is perfect and we must ‘settle for disorder in lesser things for the sake of order in greater things’. I have learned important skills for life in GROW and I know this because I am different now. I was the youngest of seven. There are many, many advantages to having older siblings:
  • They protected me in the school yard.
  • They were very generous when they started working and I was stuck for a few quid.
  • As an adult there are more people in the world who care about me.
However, when I was little there were times when they tormented the living daylights out of me! Always there was someone bigger, faster and definitely smarter. When arguments arose, as they often did, I was always outwitted so I learned an emotional response i.e. I would lash out, throw something and shout a string of profanities which would not pass the editing of Rob in Limerick. This behaviour was hilarious apparently for the tormentor but actually made me feel upset and humiliated. I gave up arguing eventually and when I grew up felt immediately threatened when conflict arose. I would panic and use the old emotional response which is unacceptable as an adult.

GROW taught me that in spite of how I was feeling I could make my muscles do the right thing. This included my mouth muscles which can often do the most damage. I found this hugely empowering. Knowing that the other person could not ‘make’ me behave badly meant I could keep my dignity in spite of being upset.

Read full article...

World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day takes place every year on 10th September. This year there are numerous events taking place nationwide during September, aimed at raising awareness of prevention and coping strategies and at providing some comfort to those in distress.  The key message being that popularised by the Cycle Against Suicide movement: “It’s ok not to feel ok; and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help“.
Image courtesty of Tracey Maria Hayes
With this message in mind, GROW has a number of coffee mornings taking place to encourage people to pop in to find out more about what GROW can offer to those struggling with their mental health or indeed with the many challenges which life throws at us: -
  • Thurs 10th Sept: Coffee Mornings from 10:30am to 12:30pm in the GROW offices: 33 Henry Street, Limerick; 34 Grand Parade (1st Floor), Cork and Barrack Street, Kilkenny.
  • Thurs 10th Sept: Coffee & Chat from 1pm to 2pm, Gorey Youth Needs, St Michael’s Road, Mary Ward Lane, Gorey Co. Wexford.
There are a huge number of events hosted by other organisations and individuals, so there’s no excuse not to get involved: - There are many useful resources available: -

Upcoming GROW Community Education Events

"Understanding and Minding your Mental Health with GROW": These free community education courses run over 4 weeks and aim to develop thinking and understanding around the subject of mental health in general. They look at the importance of maintaining one’s own mental health and well-being and steps to take if we have concerns. They also aim to create an environment where people are more open and positive in their attitudes towards mental health and more willing to talk openly about the subject.

A number of these 4 week courses are commencing over the coming months: -
  • Tuesday 22nd Sept at 7.30m in the Ionad Teampall Chroine, Church Road, Dungloe, Co. Donegal.
  • Monday 28th Sept at 7.30pm in Lus na Greine Family Resource Centre, Main Street, Granard, Co Longford.
  • Thursday 15th Oct at 7.30pm in the Prince of Wales Hotel, Athlone.
  • Wednesday 4th Nov in St. Fintan’s Hall, Mountrath, Co Laois.
Courses are free but booking is recommended, Please visit our website to find out more and to book your place.

Cycling Mad

They say cycling is like riding a bike - to keep your balance you must keep moving (forward).  The positive cycling epidemic which has gripped Ireland in recent years has had some little known knock on effects for organisations like GROW.

On 22nd August Coca Cola employees set off from three different sites (Athy, Ballina and Drogheda) and cycled off to Athlone, the centre of the country, where they presented a cheque to GROW representative, Assumpta Lyons, for €5,700 - many thanks to all those involved. Coca Cola Zero also operate bike sharing schemes in Galway, Limerick and Cork.

The Tour de Force annual cycle takes place from Sun 20th to Sat 26th September 2015. This year GROW is one of the nominated charities set to benefit. We wish all those members of An Garda Síochána and friends taking part all the best. You can follow their progress on Twitter @tdfcharitycycle or support events such as Pebble Beach Club Contarf Table Quiz, Wed 16th Sept 7:30pm.

The Cycle Against Suicide movement, started by Jim Breen, has grown exponentially since the inaugural 2013 cycle and its main aim is to spread the message that it’s ok not to feel ok; and that it’s absolutely ok to ask for help.This year, they have gone one step further and have facilitated numerous community Events Against Suicide around Suicide Prevention Day (10th Sept). Their next Spinoff Event is taking place in Wexford Town on Sat 26th Sept and GROW will have a presence at that event.

Ashbourne 12th Step Outing

The Ashbourne GROW group was developed in November 2014 and meets weekly at 10.30am in the Care Centre Ashbourne. The group organized their first 12 step outing for Friday the 28th of August 2015.

Group members and one staff member arrived outside the meeting room at the Ashbourne Care Centre at 11:30am last Friday morning. The group set off to the venue, Ashbourne House. The walk together was pleasant in the morning sun.The group settled themselves in the lovely surroundings; chatted and sipped coffee, tea and water.  Relaxed, enjoying this opportunity to get to know each other outside the structure of the meeting.

At 12.30pm lunch was served, the food was delicious and all members enjoyed this wonderful treat. Time passed quickly, members commented that developing social skills was a huge plus for them; it was growth that they would value and bring to their day to day lives. The group walked back to the meeting room with full stomachs, tried from a morning of chat, laughter and making new friends.

The Ashbourne 12 step outing was a success thanks to the leadership shown by the group members, encouraging all to attend, showing up on time for the event and making an effort to chat and be social.

North East & North West Regions Promote GROW

The North East Regional Team decided to take a Stand at the recent Virginia Show to promote GROW in the Region. Several thousand people attended the Show and the GROW stand was visited by large numbers. The day was a big success with favourable comments from many quarters.  It also opened up a number of communication links with other groups in the wider area.

The picture shows Mary and John manning the GROW stand on the day.  Special thanks to Linda and Declan from the Team who played a big role on the day and to the show organisers who provided the space free of charge.

On Friday 21st Aug a coffee morning held in Cavan.  The proceeds of which were split between SOSAD and GROW. The event was organised by EmployAbility Services who have their Cavan office in the Bridge Street Centre where the weekly GROW meetings also take place. Following the event Laura Caslin and Jim Kerr of EmployAbility Services presented a cheque to Mary French, GROW Area Co-ordinator.

Meanwhile over in the North West, GROW was involved in the "Let's Go Mental" Party in the Park which took place in Letterkenny Town Park on Wednesday 26th August 2015.

Stress Control with the HSE in the South East

GROW are delighted to be part of the Stress Control workshops in conjunction with The HSE and FDYS in Wexford (Ferns Diocesan Youth Service, celebrating 50 years in operation). This 6 week course is starting in September in Wexford and although it is fully booked up we are running it again in November in Enniscorthy. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for more details on how to book your November place or call Ellen on 087 2291719 for more information. The course covers the following 6 topics: -
  1. Learning about stress.
  2. Controlling your body.
  3. Controlling your thoughts - cognitive therapy.
  4. Controlling your actions - behaviour therapy.
  5. Controlling panic.
  6. Controlling sleeping problems and controlling the future.
The Stress Control course was developed by Jim White, a clinical psychologist based in Scotland. It has been running successfully in the UK for many years and has been run by the HSE in Ireland in conjunction with various local partner organisations.

Certificate in Mental Health in the Community

This Level 6 UCC course, commencing mid Sept and developed in partnership with Mental Health Ireland will look at how communities can enhance mental and emotional well-being through best practice in mental health promotion and suicide prevention. It takes a recovery approach to mental health in the community in meeting the needs of people who experience mental health difficulties. Content is as follows: -
  • Mental Health Promotion/suicide Prevention.
  • Recovery Orientated Approaches to Mental Health.
  • Reflective Practice.
  • Community Integration Networks.
  • Social Inclusion.
  • Co-Production and Partnership Development.
Registration on line or email or phone 086-807-9204 or 021-490-4700.

"The expert should be on tap, not on top..."

All GROW meetings have both a personal story and a general mental health related reading, so we, in GROW, appreciate the value of good reading material. It has been a busy month for book launches and there are three recent publications which look interesting and are sure to provoke plenty of healthy discussion: -
  • "Me and My Mate Jeffrey" - Niall Breslin (Bressie). To quote Conor Cusack, "This book, with unflinching honesty and vivid, raw recollections, captures Niall’s gradual descent into a valley of darkness, anxiety and self-harming but equally, demonstrates the immense capacity we possess as human beings to be able to embrace and befriend the complexity of our emotional wellbeing experiences and the new possibilities that come alive once you seek the much needed support of others on the journey to a real and authentic way of being".
  • "Depression Delusion" - Terry Lynch (author of best selling book "Beyond Prozac"). Mindfreedom are hosting an evening with Dr. Terry Lynch on Tues 8th Sept, Imperial Hotel, Cork, 8pm. Free event, but booking highly advisable.
  • "My Mental Health Matters" (free download) - UCC Health Matters, funded by #LiveLife Foundation, with foreword by Elma Walsh (mother of Donal Walsh).
GROW has a pack of publications on offer for just €17, which represents excellent value: - GROW also has the Young Adult book available as a free PDF download - an excellent resource (for both young and old!) to have on your mobile phone or iPad!

All groups are encouraged to use the above GROW publications for middle routing reading material - this saves on photocopying and distributing costs and if every person has the reading material it provides a good mechanism to encourage members to contribute to "pieces for understanding".

Mental Health Reform Petition

Have you signed the petition yet? If not, please do! 
  1. An additional €35 million for community mental health services in 2016, including for children and adolescents.
  2. Investment in counselling and psychology services.
  3. Funding for mental health promotion in primary and secondary schools.
  4. Funding for designated housing for people with mental health difficulties.
Other ways to support this campaign.

Green Ribbon 2015 Impact

Mother Teresa is quoted as saying "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples".  The Green Ribbon Campaign is a bit like that and together we can make a difference to help change minds about mental health in Ireland.  SeeChange have recently launched their Green Ribbon 2015 Impact Report - well done to all those involved. Roll on 2016!

Video Killed the Radio Star...not likely!

It is over 35 years since the hit song "Video Killed the Radio Star" was released.  The early 1980's was the era of MTV USA and pop groups were grappling with the new fangled music video technology. Perhaps each medium has its place in today's world - whether we are at home with our wireless broadband or in the car listening to the "wireless".  Both can be very powerful tools to help inform and entertain.  The great thing about radio now is that most stations are on-line and retain podcasts of popular shows, so the listeners can "tune in" anywhere, anytime.
  • Rumour has it that Josie from Kilkenny is going to be on the "Today with Sean O'Rourke" Show on RTE Radio 1 this week, possibly Monday morning...
  • Newstalk 106-108 FM, home of Dil Wickremasinghe's Global Village Show (and of Pat Kenny, George Hook and others...) has had many feature programmes on mental health and the latest #MentalWealth monthly podcast series by Simon Tierney is well worth a listen. The August episode explored Cora McEvoy's experiences dealing with anorexia. We look forward to the September podcast.
  • The 2015 Better Together Video Showcase, sponsored by Medtronic & Covidien, will shortly be open for entries from community and voluntary organisations. This features 2 minute videos which capture the essence of what an organisation does and hopes to achieve. Watch this space..."

Running for GROW

Don't forget, if you are participating in any upcoming runs or marathons, why not consider doing it as a fundraiser for GROW?  We will shortly have a new batch of Technical GROW Running Tops available, so just contact your local GROW office. GROW uses the iDonate platform for all on-line fundraising and it is easy to setup a fundraising page and nominate GROW as the recipient charity.

Here's a list of upcoming events to whet your appetite: -

GROW National Weekend and AGM

About 250 GROWers are keenly looking forward to GROW's annual national weekend which takes place in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone, from Fri 25th – Sun 27th September. The weekend starts with the AGM at 5pm on Friday and concludes with a talk by GROW Patron, John Lonergan, on Sunday, with plenty of talks, workshops and activities in between.

Odds and Ends...

  • Did you know that our GROW in Ireland email newsletter has been up and running now for 2 full years - and about 300+ hours of voluntary effort.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our readers and contributors to date. 20 years ago Bill Gates said "content is king" and it is the providers of our content (photos & articles) who we wish particularly to thank - for without you there would be no newsletter...
  • There has been a great initiative in Kilkenny with some Taxi drivers coming together to setup the Suicide Prevention Taxi Watch project.
  • There was an interesting and informative piece on Schizoprenia recently in the Journal, well worth a read.
  • GROW congratulates the inspiring No Limbs No Limits star Joanne O'Riordan who was recently awarded the prestigious JCI Outstanding Young Person of the World Award for 2015.

Remember that poster?

Have you seen any GROW posters up in your area advertising group meeting times and venues - if not then don't complain about it - take action, get some posters from your local GROW office and put them up.  If every GROW member took a few posters and put them up in their locality we are sure to reach out to a few potential new members who may be suffering in silence.  If you got something out of GROW, why not spread the message. Posters should be living on walls, not hiding in drawers!

Remember that joke:
Scrawled underneath: Bill Posters is innocent!

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