WHAT IS GROW?
GROW is a national community based organisation providing support and education around emotional and mental wellbeing. Our 12 Step Recovery Program provides effective peer support, motivation and empowerment to enable members to take action to change their circumstances in a structured and supportive environment. GROW’s weekly support meetings offer members a practical path out of mental and emotional issues. The program empowers members to construct their own recovery plan and journey towards personal growth. Its principal strength is the support its members give to each other, drawing on their own successful experiences of recovery.
GROW recognises the importance of prevention and early intervention. Our community educational programmes provide education and information, promoting positive emotional and mental wellbeing within communities. Our workplace programme encourages organisations to support, create and promote positive mental wellbeing within the workforce.
Founded in Ireland in 1969 GROW exists to:
- Provide and maintain support groups within communities;
- Educate the public and health professionals in the area of mental health and recovery principles.
What is a GROW peer support meeting?
A GROW Peer support group is a weekly meeting of men and women who use their own lived experiences to support each other. The meeting is conducted in a structured manner using GROW’s Recovery Program.
A GROW Group is a freeing experience which provides
- a space where you feel accepted and understood “ I am not alone”
- treat everyone’s experiences as being equally important
- involves both giving and receiving support
- hope and trust grows between people
- a non-judgemental space and stigma free zone
In peer support everyone’s views and experiences are equally valued, rather than anyone being seen as more of an expert than others. How much support you give and receive can vary depending on what feels right for you at different times.
Could a GROW peer support meeting help me?
Lots of people find peer support improves their wellbeing and helps them cope with mental health problems. For example, it could:
- help you to open up about what you are feeling and experiencing
- introduce you to ideas and approaches that others have found helpful
- reassure you that you’re not alone in how you are feeling
- help you to connect with others and give you a sense of belonging
- encourage you to value your strengths
- build your self-esteem and confidence
- help you to feel more hopeful about the future.
How do I join GROW?
No one joins GROW in the usual sense of the term. You do not have to wait to be referred you can come to a meeting at any time. A full list of meetings, times and venues can be found on GROW’s website. There is no application or assessment form to be completed.
Membership in GROW involves no financial obligations. However most groups “pass the secret bag” at meetings to defray the cost of renting a meeting place and other expenses such as tea, coffee, biscuits etc which may be served after the meeting.
What happens at a GROW meeting?
GROW meetings are held weekly across the country. Meetings are held in the community and last for approximately two hours. After the meeting the group will conclude with light refreshments.
GROW Groups are rooted in a trusting relationship between you and the other members of the group, whose personal history and experience allows them to understand, support, and above all model a sense of hope. A GROW meeting is not exclusively for those who are seriously ill or have a diagnosis of a mental illness. If someone is struggling with work, anxiety, depression, relationships, or everyday stressors in their life, a GROW meeting can help you find the resources you need to manage your overall well-being. Because members of the group have recovered from a similar experience, the group can uniquely provide emotional and practical support.
When you arrive at a GROW meeting you will be welcomed by the members of the group. Introductions will be made on a first name basis. As this is a new experience for you we recommend you observe and listen to gain insight of the group meeting.
Each member is asked to purchase “Journeying to Mental Health” which is GROW’s Recovery Program. The book will contain a Group Method card. The Group method Card is in essence the agenda which ensures all aspects of the meeting are covered.
The meeting is divided into five sections:
- Opening Routine – Welcome and Introduction, Reading of GROW’s Twelve Steps of personal Growth and Recovery
- First Group interaction – This includes a member’s story of personal growth followed by member’s weekly reports on their progress and problem solving/tasks
- Middle Routine – This section supports learning and understanding of the GROW Program, to make necessary changes towards hope, recovery and growth
- Second group interaction – Continue with reports on progress and problem solving (same as first group interaction)
- Closing Routine/forward planning – This section involves announcements of upcoming events such as group, regional and national events
When the meeting concludes, an anonymous evaluation form is completed with the participation of all members. This ensures the quality of the meeting is consistent.