GROW in Ireland publishes Soul Survivors 3 book - available now in GROW offices nationwide for only €5.
Donate Now »
Friend on Facebook Friend Us On Facebook
Donate 2 Euro
Forward to Friend Forward To A Friend

Soul Survivors 3

After a long journey Soul Survivors 3 is finished and should now be available in GROW offices nationwide. There has been so much hard work and dedication, patience and perseverance involved in this project that it goes without saying there are many people to be thanked.
  • To those who made contributions: Orla Muldoon, John Lonergan, Mark Patrick Hederman, Ivor Browne, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, Maureen Gaffney, Dr Ronan Fawsitt, Padraig ÕMorain, Paul Bokslag and Tony Bates.
  • To the crew in the Kilkenny office and further afield who helped with the proof reading and editing.
  • To Eveleen for the beautiful cover (
  • To Laima and Daniel for the chapter illustrations.
  • To Regional Teams who agreed to pay in advance for the book.
  • To an anonymous GROWer who donated €1,000 towards the cost.
  • To John Rice - no words can express the amount of work and hours given to this book by him.
  • And most importantly to each and every GROW member who showed great courage in sharing their stories with us.
Ireland has a reputation for being a nation of storytellers. This book is an attempt to show how storytelling can be an integral part of mental health. We live in an age that seems obsessed with the superficial, the transient and media hype about getting our ‘15 minutes of fame’. However at its best, GROW is where we learn how to share stories that give a long-term positive meaning to our own lives, while offering a sense of hope and friendship to others. Not an easy task, that’s why we try to learn it together – ‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’.

We truly hope you enjoy reading this edition. At €5 our aim was to make it affordable to all. You might consider buying one for a friend or family member for Christmas. There is a Special Christmas package available for €20, which includes Soul Survivors 2 & 3 and GROWing to Maturity (Ann Waters), including P&P within Ireland. Cheques should be made payable to GROW in Ireland and posted to: GROW, Ormonde House, Barrack Street, Kilkenny.

The GROW in Ireland Newsletter Team

News and Updates

Fundraising Momentum

During the latter part of 2013, three new fundraising initiatives were added to GROW's tool kit: -
  • GROW is now using the LIKECHARITY text donation service whereby supporters can donate €2 by simply texting the word "GROW" to 50300. If all our Facebook fans did this once a year, that would translate to €6,000! During the first month of operation €200 was raised in this manner.
  • GROW has registered with Deal Effect - a website which offers many excellent consumer deals and 11% of each deal purchased goes to a charity nominated by the purchaser. So once GROW is added to the website, treat yourself to one of the great deals on offer and benefit GROW at the same time.
  • Finally, in an effort to make it easier for GROWers and their supporters to raise sponsorship for various events (e.g. Dublin City Marathon, Great Limerick Run etc.), GROW is now setup on the iDonate website and we hope that this will be put to great use during 2014.
fundraise on idonate

Run Mount Juliet 2014

The beautiful Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown, Kilkenny, hosts an annual running event.  Each year, various charities are nominated and this year, GROW is one of the three charities destined to benefit.  There is one 2014 Toyota Yaris up for grabs and the charity which will win this prize is the one achieving the most votes on the Mount Juliet Page, so get voting now and share amongst your friends & colleagues so that GROW has a good chance of driving off with a new Yaris.

The event is also now open for runner registration. There are 3 separate events taking place:
  • 10km race on Sat 15th Feb.
  • Half Marathon event on Sat 15th Feb.
  • 3km fun run on Sun 16th Feb.
Registration filled up quickly last year as numbers are limited and due to the beautiful location, so early registration is advised!

GROW Wisdoms

  • If the rough road gets you there and the smooth one doesn't, which are you going to choose?
  • Growth is painful - but permanently rewarding!
  • The surest way to make a task appear impossible is to keep putting it off.

Loughrea Community Education

A recent edition of the GROW hosted Community Education Programme entitled “Understanding and Minding your Mental Health” has successfully concluded in Loughrea, Co. Galway.

This series of free information evenings took place in Loughrea Hotel & Spa over 4 weeks in November 2013. The talks aimed to raise awareness about suicide & mental health supports available in the local community. Each evening covered a different topic related to mental health, with talks from guest speakers.

A variety of topics were covered over the 4 weeks. Topics covered included ‘Understanding Mental Health’, ‘Suicide Awareness & Prevention’, and ‘Services in Loughrea’.

Contributors (L-R): Paul - GROW, Michael - Bethany Bereavement, Ruairi - GROW, Geraldine - Loughrea Traveller Movement, Breda - AWARE, Francis - Loughrea HSE Mental Health Services
Read the full article...

Naas Community Education

Throughout November, a Community Education course took place in The Town House Hotel, Naas. The topics covered over the 5 weeks included:
  • An Introduction to Happiness
  • Food for Thought
  • Understanding Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • Achieving Mental Fitness & Mutual Support Groups.
  • The course concluded with a SafeTALK Suicide Prevention certificate program.

Irrelevant Talk

GROW’s Program Training Manual talks about the need to be both faithful to the Group Method, whilst also having a ‘wise and caring flexibility’. Regarding irrelevant talk, it would be overly rigid to try and totally eliminate it. Since every GROWer is human, we are all guilty of it, to a greater or lesser extent. However while some flexibility is good, there is a danger that, if left unchecked, it will eat into the time available and damage the quality of the meeting. This can greatly reduce the quality of the group and create much unnecessary tension. There can be several different reasons for irrelevant talk and each requires a different solution.
  1. Some irrelevant talk can happen if a GROWer is in the habit of turning up just in time for the meeting and leaving when it finishes...
  2. During problem solving, a GROWer can use irrelevant talk as a way of keeping the focus off their real issues...
  3. It can happen that if a committed GROWer is trying to address a sensitive issue in their own life, the irrelevant talker may act up as the issue strikes too close to the bone...
Submitted as a proposed leadership paper from Kilkenny.  Read the full article...

Drumcondra Community Education

During November, a Community Education course took place in The Regency Hotel, Swords. The topics covered over the 4 weeks included: An Introduction to GROW Tools for Mental Health; An Introduction to Happiness; Food for Thought and Understanding Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

Other News...

Similar Community Education ("Gatekeeper") courses were also rolled out during October and early November in Athlone, Portlaoise and Drogheda. These will be a regular feature across all regions during 2014, so our advice is to keep checking our website for updates from early January.

DFI Symposium @ UL

GROW, like many organisations, is on the journey towards PQASSO certification. Within Ireland, the DFI (Disability Federation of Ireland) is assisting charities on this journey. Recent graduates of some of UL's new quality centric courses presented research papers at a joint DFI - UL (University of Limerick) Symposium which highlighted the challenges and successes faced whilst working to improve quality through innovation and adoption of LEAN processes. In one case study, Declan Denny (Wexford CIL) had managed to reduce service delivery times by 93% through beautifully simple process changes. UL's courses, in partnership with DFI, aim to offer the Charity/Voluntary Sector equivalent quality and innovation tools and best practice methodologies as are available in Industry.

Gerry Lee, of Fighting Blindness, inspired the participants with a narrative of how that charity had worked with many 3rd level institutions to greatly advance research in various areas pertaining to blindness. He finished with a fine acronym to describe the stages people suddenly afflicted with a disability might go through: S.A.R.A.H - Shock - Anger - Resentment - Adaptation - Healing.  Marie Kehoe O'Sullivan, Director of Safety & Quality Improvement at HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority) wrapped up the conference by outlining her thoughts on quality across the social care sector and what lies ahead. The key takeaway being that organisations who are on the PQASSO quality improvement journey are on the right track.

Cycle Against Suicide 2014

There is no doubt that the inaugural Cycle Against Suicide event during May 2013, in which GROW participated at a few of the stop overs, had a big impact on the way mental health issues are perceived in Ireland and the way in which they are presented by the media. The main objective of the Cycle is to raise awareness of the considerable help and supports that are available for anyone battling depression, self harm, at risk of suicide or those bereaved by suicide. Indeed, since May we have seen frequent articles on mental health and many prominent individuals (e.g. John Murray, Conor Cusack and many more) have talked openly in the media about their mental health difficulties and, more importantly, how they overcame them.  There are three key things happening at the moment: -
  1. The Simple Things Album was recently released and is available in shops nationwide for Christmas.The key message is that it’s ok not to feel ok and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help.
  2. There is a Student Leaders' Congress taking place in the RDS on Wed 15th Jan 2014. It's aim is to promote positive mental health and help-seeking behaviour in young people.
  3. Finally the 2014 Cycle takes place from Mon 28th April to Sun 11th May. The route has been finalised and GROW has a presence in most of the stop over towns. So a word of warning to GROW regions - don't plan a GROW event for the same day the cycle passes through your town!

Midwest Update

  • A dozen GROWers took part in a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) course in the Limerick GROW Centre and there was a 100% satisfaction rating. The WRAP program complements many other therapies, such as the GROW program.
  • Over 30 GROWers attended a half-day Organiser & Recorder (O & R) training event in the Savoy Hotel, just down the road from the Limerick GROW Centre. The main focus of the training was to look at the role of the Recorder, covered by James O'Halloran (especially in relation the newly rolled out group evaluation form) and the Organiser, covered by Mary Purcell. Regional Manager, James Quilligan, outlined the various staff roles within the region. In addition to a fundraising brainstorming session, there was some discussion on PR and raising the profile of GROW. A good point was made on the effectiveness of "word of mouth" PR, by a GROWer highlighting to their GP/Doctor how the GROW Program is helping them. That is far more powerful that any leaflet or poster dropped into a GP surgery or health clinic.
  • Following on from the successful Community Education course in the Clarion, a public coffee morning is taking place in Templemore on 5th Dec with a view to arranging the next Community Education course in the Templemore/Thurles area.
  • Finally, GROW has entered a 4 x 6.5 mile relay team in the Great Limerick Run 2014. We need another 2 people to join us - May the 4th be with you!

Poet's Corner - The Forgotten

This month, a poem by Edmund from Galway...

Everyone who knew
Knew he was mad
The family locked him away
It was very sad.

He was talking about religion and politics
In a most unreasonable way
Out and about all hours of the night
And in bed during the day.

Even love at times is not enough
As is normally understood
Sometimes you have to lock them up
And hope it will do some good.

There was an illness like that
In generations gone past
Nerves was what the mother had said
It was this or that, that sparked it off
But nobody really understood.

There was nothing to hide from the doctor inside
She had him under the telescope
The nurse have the nod
It’s time for the prod
And it pleased him when you were good.

Inside there were those, for their health, I suppose
Resigned to the fate of the sick
The doctor knows best
She passed her test
And the rest is the usual risk.

When you end up inside
It can open your eyes
To the pain we would rather not know
The hurt and the lost who carry the cost
Of many society's woes.

Read complete poem...

No Room at the Inn

Mental Health Reform are hosting a discussion, chaired by Marian Finucane, on access to mental health services for people in crisis. This takes place on Thurs 9th Jan 2014 @ 6:30pm, Wood Quay Venue. The event is free but booking is essential. Contact

This event is one of many taking place as part of the First Fortnight Festival which takes place from Jan 2nd to 16th 2014. Some of the events are travelling nationwide. E.g. screening of the Silver Linings Playbook can be seen in Dublin, Bray, Limerick, Waterford, Portlaoise, Newbridge & Cork. Praised as the film that finally saw Hollywood understand mental health problems, Bradley Cooper stars as a man struggling to cope with daily life following his release from a psychiatric facility. He meets a troubled young widow, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and the film documents their developing relationship. Nominated for 8 Oscars, it is a film not to be missed. Screenings will be followed by a discussion.

Strategic Plan (2014-2016)

The GROW in Ireland Strategic Plan (2014-2016) is currently being put together. The key goals have been identified as follows: -
  1. To strengthen & increase the number of Community & Young Adult groups.
  2. To provide quality training for Regional Teams, Organisers, Recorders, GROW members & Staff.
  3. To develop an IT platform that supports the work of the organisation & measurement of outcomes.
  4. To develop an internal & external communications strategy building on relationships already developed.
  5. To Develop an efficent & effective organisation.
  6. To source, fundraise & effectively manage financial resources to fund the activities of the organisation.
The goals were identified at Board level based on discussions, questionnaires and feedback received at various events during the year (Regional Team Training & National Weekend events in Athlone).

Find Us on Google Maps!

A few months back, GROW in the Mid West posted an opportunity on the Volunteer Limerick website, searching for a volunteer to help put together a Google Map with all GROW's meeting locations nationwide. Within a week a suitable volunteer, Dara Monahan, was identified. Since then Dara has been assembling a Google Map which is now available on GROW's website and Facebook page. The map gives a very graphic and visual illustration of the excellent coverage GROW has across the whole island of Ireland. GROW would like to sincerely thank Dara for the work he has put into this project over the past few months.

January 2014

We have some interesting plans for the newsletter during the 12 months of 2014, but, as ever, if you have something of interest to contribute or would like to give us feedback on anything you have read, please do contact us via email.

Thank you for reading.

A Christmas Message

May love be in your life,
May hope be in your heart,
May the spirit of friendship
make you a free and whole
person, and gentle builder of
a free and whole community.
Happy Christmas and a
Peaceful New Year.

Copyright © 2013 GROW in Ireland, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp
unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preferences | © Copyright GROW in Ireland 2013 CHY 9319