April 2021 Newsletter

Grow’s Easter Walk 

Calling on everyone to Walk the Walk this Easter Sunday wearing YELLOW!

Grow Mental Health’s first national fundraising activity of 2021 will take place on Easter Sunday and all are invited to join in and proudly support the vital work of Grow Mental Health. Supported by our friends in Expressway, we are holding a Virtual YELLOW Walk on Easter Sunday.

The idea is that we all wear YELLOW to celebrate Spring after a very difficult, long winter and get out walking safely with others in our household for just 30 minutes on Easter Sunday. The aim is twofold: to help with our own mental wellbeing and to give our supporters the chance to walk with us in solidarity with Grow while making a registration donation.  You can either register as a single participant (€10) or a family (€15) by clicking the button below or scanning the QR code in the poster.

Everyone who registers has the chance to win a €100 One 4 All voucher. 

The walk has already received huge support online with some of Ireland’s top influencers promoting it on our behalf. Hundreds of mental health supporters around the country have already signed up, so make sure to continue to share and spread the word! #YellowWalk

“I will be proudly sporting my yellow t-shirt, supplied by Grow Mental Health, and walking for 30 minutes within the allowed 5km. I encourage everyone to support the fundraising campaign either virtually or outdoor in the fresh air. This is a brilliant way to not only promote our physical health but also our mental health. But please don’t forget to look after each other by staying safe and following public health guidelines.”

 Minister for Mental Health, Mary Butler
Register for the Easter Walk
Our Walk the Walk inspiration came from our very own Captain Tom.
While cocooning he walked 1,100 laps of his house aided with crutches, with the encouragement of his wife Breda and family. Raising over €1,000 for Grow Mental Health – Tom is truly inspirational!

Rob Stephen made his mark on March with a rhyme a day

 Congratulations to Rob Stephen, who has surpassed his fundraising target with a grand total of over €1,200  so far. His innovative fundraising idea brought fun and merriment to all and he even inspired others to post their own limericks. From all at Grow Mental Health, thank you Rob!

By Joan 
Since lockdown I work in my room,
From morning to late afternoon,
Don’t bother to dress,
My hair in a mess,
Except when there’s meetings on Zoom!

By Rob
There was an old man from Clare,
Who had a mop of grey hair,
He felt a bit glum,
So went for a run,
And now he’s walking on air!

Donate to Growing Limericks
Grow Art Gallery

Creations by members to inspire us on our mental health journeys

Photo by Peter Donovan, Knocklyon group, Eastern Region

Family Shrine in Lithuania
Painting by Des Martin

The role of nature and spirituality in recovery provides a great source of comfort and stability.

Colour Wonder
Painting by Tracey Halloran, Area Coordinator

My mother once told me that every colour we see in life – from the colours we paint our walls, to our clothes and our furniture- is all inspired by mother nature, the most talented artist of all.

Submit to The Grow Gallery
Budding artists or photographers are encouraged to submit photos of their work to be included in the monthly newsletter. If your photo or art is in any way connected to mental health or is therapeutic in some way, please click link below or send it to [email protected] with a title and caption.

Submit Art
Best Wishes

A big welcome to Rachel Farrell, who has just joined the team at Grow Mental Health. Rachel is covering Izabella Morris’s maternity leave from April 1st. We wish Izabella well with her bundle of joy arriving soon!

Also a warm welcome to Helena Kilduff, who is taking over from Anne Clifford following her retirement on April 1st. We are very sad to see Anne go and wish her well in all her future endeavors.

From all at Grow Mental Health, we wish the new members of staff the very best.

Because childhood lasts a lifetime

By John from Donegal
I was reintroduced to this old slogan recently at the end of a radio advert for the children`s charity Barnardo`s. The advert reported on the rising levels of physical and emotional abuse of children during Covid restrictions.

Previously when I heard this slogan, “Because Childhood Lasts A Lifetime”, my thoughts would drift back to my own childhood and the difficulties I once encountered. It`s said that the impact of our childhood lasts all through life, and certainly from my experience, the old saying, “the child is never too far from the adult’s head.” has proven to be true.

Life is full of contradictions and it`s not uncommon for anyone who experienced a difficult childhood, to receive conflicting advice on coming to terms with our past life. You may hear opinions that range from, `forget all about it` or `put it behind you’ etc. Others will state the opposite and advise you to explore your past or you will never find inner peace unless you delve deep into your childhood.

When I joined Grow, I would feel conflicted, especially when I read certain passages of the Grow Program, such as Grow Principles on page 52, under the title Responsibility, which states it’s “wrong to hark back to past causes… wrong to stay sick…” etc. I believed these words lacked compassion. However, over time, the more I got to learn the Grow Program, I realised I would be sabotaging my own recovery if I were to keep focussing on negativity. I remember feeling annoyed with the Grow wisdom, “Those who keep harping on about their parent`s faults never grow up.” I have stopped questioning the validity of this wisdom because I don`t feel the same way. I can break this association with my childhood misery and prevent triggering those old unhelpful emotions. So, when I heard those same words recently, “Because Childhood Lasts A Lifetime,” instead of allowing myself to dwell on memories of my wounded and fearful childhood, I simply acknowledged their existence.

This has not been easy and has come from years of practicing the Grow Program, such as page 54 “Imagination and Disturbed Thought” and page 55 “Don`t Cultivate Weeds”. Learning to ignore thoughts by diverting my attention and by disregarding them, I can then start to shift my thoughts towards positivity. For example, instead of allowing my negative thoughts to become troublesome, I can appreciate what I have been through gives me more compassion and understanding of others in similar situations. In the words of Carl Jung, “Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of others.”

When we learn to think differently, we make different choices. We can choose to love rather than to fear because fear comes from anger and anger turns to resentment. Acceptance has played such an important role in helping me and Grow has shown me the power of acceptance. “When we accept life – on life`s terms – we can let go of how we think life should be and live in the `Now` of life is.” – page 77.

I try not to dwell on misery, it is good to leave the past in the past because no one deserves to suffer, especially from their own mind. There is a new section in the Grow Program pages 58 to 60 titled, `Letting Go`, which is particularly useful. This section explains what we need to `Let Go` of, which includes “Letting go of the past” because “If we keep clinging to the past we cannot live in the present.” Page 59 includes a powerful wisdom, “In the process of letting go, you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.”

Since 1995, Barnardo`s have used the same advertisement slogan. The children who were receiving the services of Barnardo`s at that time are all adults now. I hope when they hear “Because Childhood Lasts A Lifetime,” they are reconciled with their difficult childhoods.

Virtual 5km in Memory of Phyllis

A virtual 5km walk/run in memory of Phyllis, a dear, long-standing member of our Ballyfermot support group, will take place on April 11th, 2021.

We sadly lost Phyllis in recent months, and she is deeply missed by her family, friends, and fellow group members every day. Phyllis’s family wishes to send a special word of thanks to the members of Grow Ballyfermot for their support and friendship to Phyllis.
The isolation brought about by Covid-19 has tested us all in so many ways, and robbed us all of the chance to make memories.

So to remember Phyllis on her birthday, her family have asked that we call a friend and make plans to run or walk Phyllis’ 5km Birthday Virtual 5km on 11th April wherever you are in the world and share your photos on the day.

Support Phyllis’s Birthday 5km
Post your 5km photos
The longest relationship you will have

By Caroline Crotty

I remember reading the question. “with whom will you have the longest relationship?” I thought “well if I’m fortunate, it will be with my parents or my siblings”. The answer is very different.

The longest and most important relationship you will ever have is with YOU.  The better the relationship you develop with you, the better it is for you and for everyone around you. When we are happy and content within our own skin, we are easier to get along with – the positivity radiates outwards from us.

How can you improve your relationship with you?  It’s not as difficult as it might at first seem.  Start small and build over time.  Remember the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.  In fact, every accomplishment the world over began with someone deciding to give whatever it is a try.

Gratitude is a topic I often mention. Every night before you sleep write down three things that you appreciate about you with a pen and paper!  It might be that you have good health or have children, or live in a quiet/busy area.  These do not have to be earth-shattering reasons – you could write that you appreciate being a kind person, that you waved at a neighbour when you spotted him in the street or that you brushed your hair today!  Learn to appreciate the little things in every day.  If you’re stuck, appreciate having the freedom to leave your house if you so desire – at least we are not in prison!

Filter. If you have negative people in your life who are always complaining, try to filter out their negativity and tune them out – don’t get sucked in!  A wonderful approach to life is to learn to minimise complaints and criticisms.  When you adopt that stance, you will no longer feel the need to judge or gossip.  Sometimes listening to news-reports can be upsetting. That is okay.  If you don’t want to listen to the news then you don’t have to!  Filter it out.

Reframe means to think differently – to spot unhelpful thoughts and replace them with more positive or helpful ones. Challenge your thoughts and the wording you use if its negative. Try to keep in mind how you would speak to someone else. You would probably be softer or encouaging in your approach than you are with yourself.  Be gentle and kind to you.  Ask yourself, “what advice would I give someone else about this?” Take your own advice.

You are not perfect. You make mistakes just the same as the next person – because you are human! Remind yourself that you are not perfect but you are good enough.

Read more
Regional Updates


  • Educational Programmes
As part of the Midland region’s work with the HSE, Grow Mental Health delivers four community educational programs within the year. This educational program is titled Let’s Talk Mental health. One is delivered in each of the four counties namely Laois, Offaly, Westmeath, and Longford. To date Grow Mental Health has delivered in Westmeath, Longford, and Co. Laois.
Since the coronavirus restrictions, these programs are now delivered through Zoom. There has been an average of 25 participants attending each of those programs. There has been very positive feedback and the participants are benefiting greatly.  These programs are delivered through a weekly presentation over a four-week period. We deliver a presentation on Our Mind Matters on the first evening of the program and the other three evenings are delivered by external speakers, such as talks on Mindfulness and CBT, Covid: Dealing with stress in those challenging times, and Good Mood Food. These topics change for each program in order to keep abreast of the changing times we are all living in due to Covid-19.
  • Workplace Programmes
Grow’s other work with the HSE is the Managing Stress and Anxiety in the Workplace program, which is now Managing Stress and Anxiety While Working From Home due to Covid restrictions and is also delivered on Zoom. Grow is delighted to deliver this program twice in each midland county within the year. This program to date has been delivered to staff in Offaly Local Development Company over a two-day period and other companies have dates booked in the diary going forward.
  • St. Patrick’s Day Show
The St. Patrick’s Day 12th Step event was hosted by the Midlands Region for Growers from all regions in the country.  There were 63 members who participated in this very successful and joyful afternoon. The afternoon’s entertainment consisted of ukulele players, guitars, tin whistles, storytellers, poetry, and lots more fun. The MC for the afternoon was the Area Coordinator in the Midlands, Michelle McCormick, and supported technically by Alan Keaveney from the Western region. The afternoon brought across very clearly the amount of talent that each region has within Grow Mental Health. It was also great to see so many members dressed in their festive outfits for this occasion. Congratulations to all concerned on a very enjoyable and successful St. Patrick’s afternoon.
The Midlands Region would like to thank everyone for their support on the day, who joined in with us, for the great afternoon’s entertainment.  Especially grateful to all who performed and showed what great talent we have in Grow.
A big thanks to Michelle for the work leading up to the event and the skill she brought to hosting along with the support of Alan in Galway on the day- they made it the success it was.
To Sile and Tracey, many thanks for the great poster and thanks also to Seamus Sharkey Kelly for coming up with the idea. His new anthem is now ‘There’s no Show like a Grow Show’!
Step into Spring Challenge

Seetec Mover’s Ireland completed a Step into Spring Challenge in aid of Grow

The Seetec Step into Spring fundraiser began in late February and ended on March 28th, raising over €1,100 for Grow Mental Health and Aoibhneas Domestic Abuse Support for Women and Children. Over 200 hundred employees took on the challenge.

Thank you so much to Joanna Mc Sweeney and all the team at Seetec for their support!

A day in the life of an ACBy Treasa Twomey, Area Coordinator

If I were writing this piece prior to the pandemic, the picture would be very different. Our days and nights were spent in the car visiting the various groups in our respective units. Group visits were in themselves great, however, the drive home was exhausting at times, especially if the group was long or the content upsetting.
I have always enjoyed working for Grow, especially to observe leadership emerging. The groups and the Program have been the highlights of the job. It’s been both a privilege and a pleasure to see our members recovering from their individual issues. Hearing member’s testimonies, where they have come from, and especially how applying the Program has given them a new life worth living is priceless.

I’m proud to work for Grow and never more so than in the last twelve months, during this global pandemic. It’s said that sometimes it takes a crisis to observe people’s true character. The Organisation as a whole has shown its resilience throughout the pandemic. When face to face groups had to stop due to the government’s necessary restrictions, we Faced up to the challenge of supporting our members.

Initially, we kept connected by telephone. We called our members to check in and encouraged them to do the same (12th step work at its best). The Area Co-Ordinators role underwent a huge change. We had to learn how to use Zoom in order to facilitate groups online. Personally, I found this extremely challenging as I have a fear of technology ( or maybe it’s a fear of getting it wrong). I’m a child of the 60’s and asking teachers questions wasn’t encouraged in my school days. On a positive note, I had a great teacher who taught me over the telephone and she was patient kind and encouraging throughout the process. One year on, I actually enjoy the online groups and have two new online groups, along with five groups that were previously face-to-face.

The numbers in all the groups have increased and remained constant and members are very committed. In fact, I believe the quality of the groups has improved also, partly due to having new members and also due to the geographical boundary being removed. For example, people can visit other groups to give their testimonies, which helps both the individual and the group being visited.

The Organisers and Recorders meeting and Leader’s meeting have improved greatly. Here again, the numbers are bigger and the shared experiences benefit everyone attending..2020 will not be a year that we could easily forget. However, the Grow organization can be proud of what it achieved throughout the Covid-19 crisis. The committee who worked on the new branding did a wonderful job. The Program team and spirituality team who produced the new Program book did trojan work. It would be difficult to predict what our landscape will look like in another year, but I’m convinced we may get bigger and better.

A special word of thanks to the following people:

  • The leaders within the existing groups came on board the online platform and welcomed the newcomers into their groups.
  • Kate Slater was the great teacher who taught me how to use Zoom.
  • Mary Walsh, who although she wasn’t long in her new role of NPC ensured we had all the Program books necessary to hold a group.
  • Cliona Tynan who didn’t waste any time getting a laptop sent to me.
  • To all the Dublin team, who organized and sent the ipads to our members to help them get online.
  • A special thank you to our Manager, Mary Purcell, who was thrown in the deep end and came up smiling.
  • And last but not least, to Aisling Cassin who receives all the new inquiries and posts out the Program books to newcomers.


Step 8Gertrude Howley delivers an eye-opening workshop for our YouTube series

In this installment, Regional Chairperson Gertrude Howley explores Step 8, ‘We learned to think by reason rather than by feelings and imagination.’ Steps 10-12 still open to members who would like to share personal stories. An interview will take place on Zoom on each step with one member speaking on each step.
If interested in sharing your story on video, please contact: [email protected] or [email protected] for further details. If you would like to nominate someone suitable, please get in touch and we will reach out to them.

Click to watch Gertrude Howley explain how Step 8 works in our daily lives in this fascinating workshop.

Grow’s 5-level Pandemic Plan

By the Return to Groups and Work Committee

Quick Link Menu