“We Took Our Courage in Our Hands and Asked for Help”

No man or woman is an island. As Peig Sayers put it: “is as scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine” – people depend on one another.Sometimes asking for help is the bravest thing you can do. You don't have to do it alone. (1)

Isolation is one of the principal factors leading to mental health issues. Whether it be withdrawing due to fear, loneliness, rejection, anxiety, as isolated thinking leads to unhealthy subjectivity.

So having acknowledged that one has a problem, the next step is to seek outside help. This might seem obvious but quite often a person has to come to rock bottom before they come to seek help.

Who to turn to?

Being isolated, maybe you don’t have a friend, so a GP, a spiritual guide, a confessor, or a counsellor.  This is where GROW also comes in. A person with mental health issues often needs the support of others who have found the way out of such darkness.

GROW provides a safe place where such help is available. “Mental health can’t be taught. It has to be learned together.”  It provides a network of friends and gradually the person is drawn back into society. Life would be unthinkable without friends.

This second step of the GROW Program – “We Took Our Courage in Our Hands and Asked for Help” – is about making contact with other people. For human beings, inter-personal relationships are vital.  “You’ve got to love people back to health”.  Someone experiencing mental health difficulties is often the victim of self-imposed isolation.

As Father Con Keogh put it at the end of the day we are the same as any other human being and just as there is recognised universal care for physical ailments, so the GROW Program and community provide care for those experiencing mental health problems.


But why does it take courage to ask for help?  We all recognise the courage of the soldier in battle who is honoured for his bravery, or the life-boat crews who face extremes to help others. But who will acknowledge the courage of a people who “limps” into his first GROW meeting?  The world does not offer a crown of glory for such a person, but we in GROW can appreciate the courage involved in setting out on what can seem an impossible challenge.  A person can endure a broken bone but who can endure a broken spirit!

As Anne Waters puts it, “it’s a lot easier to stay sick then it is to get well.” It is important to remember the GROW motto – “You alone can do it but you can’t do it alone”.

In GROW, we stand together, support one another and provide a beacon of hope.

Second piece from Cork on Step 2 of the GROW Program

The key points to keep in mind is Truth, Character and Friendship.  Being truthful and honest with oneself in facing one’s feelings can have a positive impact on your life. Friendship in GROW or with a person you can trust such as a counsellor will help you to deal with your difficulties.  It may be painful for a start but can be permanently rewarding.

They are many attitudes and resistances to overcome in the path to recovery.  You should let your defenses down and be open to new ideas and fresh ways of thinking.  Also, be mindful not to make yourself too open that you feel vulnerable.