April 2023 Newsletter – Discovering Hope

The blooms are blooming and Spring is springing. Now if the rain ever stops, we will be in the glorious phase of Springtime in Ireland. And what a wonderful time that is! April seems to be the most hopeful of months. We have longer days, little tastes of the summer months to come, abundant colour, and for many the renewal of Easter. This month at Grow Mental Health we will take a closer look at HOPE - What gives us hope? Why is hope such an important piece of the Grow Program?  How can we discover hope when all seems dark around us?

As always, we would love to hear from you. You can reach us on our social media platforms and by email [email protected]

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by Mary, Grow National Volunteer Coordinator

"Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: "expect with confidence" and "to cherish a desire with anticipation"
(Wikipedia definition of Hope)

What is Hope in Grow? Hope of Recovery

Hope is everywhere in Grow. Hope that things will get better – no matter where your starting point is. My first experience of Hope was hearing people’s stories in those first Grow groups I attended. A number of people explained how they felt hope from day one. When they came to that first meeting and they realised they were not the only one. They weren’t on their own anymore. While there was still a lot of work to be done on the Recovery Journey – The relief was there for us all to see. A change in the faces of those who now had a sense of Hope.

I felt it personally when the hand of friendship was extended after I shared in my group an issue with family disagreement. I felt very alone being the only girl in my family and as my parents were no longer with us. I felt hopeless as I couldn’t fix it – it wasn’t my disagreement and being the youngest (and only girl) I wasn’t really heard in all the noise. All I could kept thinking was my parents would be devastated – they didn’t bring us up like this. My Group where a huge support – they listened and shared phone numbers and offered to meet for coffee – this over time restored my faith in people and I became Hopeful again.
When people feel Hope again it is a huge step on the road to recovery realising you are now part of a community called Grow.

Grow Mental Health’s Vision in action:
"An Ireland where no one needs to navigate mental health challenges or life’s struggles alone."

by Kate, Grow Member Southeast Region

Wicklow Awareness Event
Members and staff from Grow Mental Health teamed up with Wicklow Social Prescriber Paul Brown for a very successful awareness evening in Wicklow. There were 5 speakers including Paul,  Trish Williams, Grow Area Coordinator; Wayne Kanvanagh a Grow member who was one of the event's organisers;  and two more Grow members who shared their stories.   The evening included a beautiful relaxation and meditation session as well as some treats from a local baker.  Everyone so enjoyed it and said they would like an awareness-raising evening like this every 3 to 4 months. Well done to the Wicklow team!
As part of Cork’s Lifelong Learning Festival Week, The Mayfield Sports Complex opened its doors to host the Mayfield Expo, organised by the Mayfield Learning Neighbourhood, on Wednesday 29th March.  This was an excellent opportunity to showcase the array and diversity of organisations, activities and courses that are available in the local Mayfield community, for all ages and abilities.  It was also about making time to celebrate connections and reconnect as a learning Neighbourhood in a fun and interactive way. 

Participants ranged from the local Men’s Sheds, Age Action, Cork City Libraries, The Cope Foundation, Coolmine Addiction Services, and Jigsaw, to name but a few.  Face painting and local children’s choirs were also part of the day’s entertainment, which added a festive and fun atmosphere to the event. 

Grow Mental Health Southern Region was invited to participate in the day’s Expo, to promote our meetings and supports in the Cork area.  Area Co-ordinator, Finola O’Callaghan, was on hand to talk to the many interested attendees on the day about Grow and the importance of looking after our mental health and wellbeing. It was wonderful to have this event resume again in the community, post-pandemic,  to celebrate the wide variety of learning events and supports which are on offer throughout the Mayfield community and Cork area.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: A Review of the Mullingar Community Education Program
by John Madden, Area Coordinator, Grow Midlands Region

Pictured: Midlands Area Coordinator, John Madden and Joanne Naughton, Social Prescriber for Athlone, and Patrick Jones from the National Office for Suicide Prevention

As the CEP in Westmeath came to a very successful end on 29th March, it became far more obvious than ever that things are really reverting back to old norms. Westmeath had organised CEPs in late 2022 but in hindsight, it is now clear that there was still widespread anxiety and reluctance within many to re-emerge from the prudent and cautious behaviour of recent years owing to the impact of COVID–19. In 2022, it was difficult to fill front-row seats whereas, in 2023, more chairs were needed; a true sign of the times and a welcome one too.

Over the 4 weeks, attendees had the opportunity to hear from a range of crucially important topics from “Living a Happy and Content Life” to “Suicide Awareness in the Community”. All of which were heavily attended and garnered incredibly positive feedback.

A key theme emerged from speaking with attendees afterward; how far we as a country have come in regard to the provision of care in mental health. Yes, we have come a long way but we still have a long way to go. However, as more people attend this kind of event, ask questions, and learn, not just from the speakers but also from each other, we as a nation may get there. Rome was not built in a day but the conversation keeps going. It is the day that we are silent that we should fear the most, but reflecting on the CEPs in Mullingar, that day may never come, thankfully.
Midlands Coordinator, John Madden and Award Winning Psychotherapist, Brian Walsh MIACP and john Madden, Author John Lonergan and Psychotherapist and Gorw Area Coordinator Caroline Crotty.

There will be more CEPs in Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, and Longford happening over the coming months so if you are interested, please don’t hesitate in reaching out to Grow Area Coordinators in their respective areas. Information on the next Tullamore CEP can be found here.


Grow Area Coordinator in Galway, Alan Keaveney, took part in West Be Well in Tuam on Tuesday, April 4th. Guest Speakers on the day included representatives from the following organisations: Tuam MHA, Mental Health Ireland, Pieta House, Planet Youth, Galway Recovery College, Grow Mental Health, shOUT, GRD, West Traveller Association, Principal Social Worker, Venture Out, Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention, Healthy Ireland, Women’s Shed, Mens’ Shed, and a mindfulness and yoga tutor. There were over 30 people
in attendance for this wonderful event. Well done, Alan!

Top photo: Alan Keaveney - Area Coordinator Galway City & County, Aine Hurley - Development Officer for Galway City & Country with Mental Health Ireland, Paul Clabby - HSE Peer Support Worker and Board member of Grow.


"Just a quick note to say that I have resigned from the board and all sub-committees. I have had such a fantastic time as Chair of the board and am very grateful for all of the support, advice and kindness I have received from each and every member of the board. Thanks also to all Grow Mental Health members, Michele and the staff who have also been there for me every step of the way. I will continue to enjoy the support of my Grow Mental Health group and I'm grateful to all of you for this".  Annabel


by Jonathan, Grow Member Eastern Region  

Most stories, whether film or book, fairy tale or myth, are journeys of hope. The baddie gets his comeuppance. The monster is slain. The world is saved. The heroine comes from rags to riches. The hero gets the girl. Even dark tragic stories are cautionary tales so hopefully, we will be wiser and not go down that path.

The story of hope starts from “home”, everyday life that’s unsatisfactory or without meaning, a wasteland. A job is boring or is lost, a marriage ends, a sickness begins. The protagonist gets a call from the “Universe” to a dangerous but hopeful journey. It takes courage to embark on the journey. Often we hesitate and the Universe keeps knocking on our door or kicks us in the behind. We travel down into the darkness. Once on our way doors will open where previously there were only walls. Friends, allies, and wise mentors come our way. We will fight inner “demons” and overcome outer obstacles. There will be trials and we will be tested, but we hopefully grow. Finally, we resurrect and return to life, but we are not the same person that set out. We are a new person that can renew life for others too. That is the Hope.

It’s the growth in the protagonist that makes these stories satisfying. They are every woman and every man with flaws. They grow in virtue, consciousness, and wisdom, and from one state of being into a larger new state of being. A deeper place of maturity. These stories need to be retold in a new way in each generation to keep the hope alive and vital.

February was a great month for raising the profile of Grow Mental Health and the supports we offer in Ireland. Between our Mini Acts of Big Love campaign with Mini Ireland, the segment on Ireland AM, some concentrated paid advertising, changing the way we use our website, and the myriad promotional events driven by our tireless Area Coordinators, we saw over 100 new registrations in February alone! These registrations were for online groups, in-person groups, and Community Educations Programs. The marketing, communications, and fundraising team will continue their efforts at the national level in addition to supporting the awareness-raising initiatives in the regions. Is there anything happening that we should know about? Email us at: [email protected].

by Bridget, Grow Member, Online Group

Anxiety in the present can be a result of insecure and unsafe feelings from the past, thrown up by the mind, like disturbed leaves in the breeze.

I am safe. I am secure. I am now grown up and more in control.
Life flows through me like a fresh flowing river. Some pebbles and debris have been carried along for many years. They come from me and from those who came before me. I can allow them to hurt my feet or I can stand and observe as they move past – in the freshening splurge of foam. They are not entirely mine - they come from way back up the mountain where the river once began.
Some are boulders, which have blocked and diverted my journey. Some are obstacles I alone have created. Yet the river is undeterred. It finds its way around the boulders and cascades gently but firmly over rocks, eroding and smoothing in its wake.
I will allow this passing life to flow through me. It has been given to me by my ancestors, who once stood where I’m standing now. 


Jimmy Crowley, Eve Telford & Friends!
Get ready for a night of song and storytelling! Legendary Cork balladeer Jimmy Crowley and folk singer Eve Telford are once again teaming up for an enchanting evening at the Triskel Arts Centre. Jimmy and Eve will be joined by fellow musicians and storytellers for this must-see event. All funds raised are in aid of Grow Mental Health. Tickets will be on sale through www.triskelartscentre.ie

The Great Limerick Run!

Do you fancy running for Grow?

Don't matter if you're fast or slow
It is guaranteed fun
In the Limerick Run
And it's good for the head you know!

The Great Limerick Run will take place on Sunday 30th April 2023. Full details here: https://greatlimerickrun.com/

Once again, our own Rob Stephen will be taking part in the event and fundraising for Grow Mental Health. Why not join him? You can contact Rob on 086-0625765 or email [email protected]

Anyone registering can nominate Grow Mental Health as their charity of choice and you will be given an online fundraising page. The Grow office is conveniently close to the start/finish area and will be open for bag drop, toilets, c.hanging & refreshments.

VHI Women's Mini Marathon
This much-loved event takes place in Dublin on the June Bank Holiday Weekend (June 4). For years, we have had a strong fundraising presence at the Mini Marathon (THANK YOU!) and we hope 2023 will be no different.

1. Register here: https://www.vhiwomensminimarathon.ie/ .
2. Once you've registered for the event, head over to the charity section and created your Give'nGain event
3. Choose 'Grow in Ireland' as your fundraising partner.
4. Spread the word in whatever way you can.
5. Start fundraising!


Grow Mental Health is opening a new in-person peer support meeting in Drogheda starting tomorrow morning (Tuesday, March 28th) at 10:30 AM. These meetings are free and open to anyone facing a mental health challenge. Click here for more information: https://grow.ie/events/drogheda-grow-group/

A new group in Leixlip will be opening very soon. Contact Grow Area Coordinator Amanda, [email protected] for details.
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT 2022 – Presentation of Cheques
This event started off in 2016 in Ballyragget as a group of young men wanted to bring awareness to the Topic of Suicide in their community. As Freddie Farrell (Organiser) said the funds raised were a by-product of the event BUT generating Awareness was the primary reason that the community got together and started the “Light Up the Night Event”. I don’t think anyone anticipated how big this event would become. This year they have 2 starting points and 2 different routes – Trucks started from Chillin Hill in Kilkenny and the Tractors started in Ballyragget. The finish point for both routes was Ballyragget.
Grow received a cheque €1540 – which is a huge help to us in the South East having just moved to a new premises in November. Andy, a local man, talked about his mental health struggles on the night – he was very honest and spoke about what helped him on his recovery journey. The most important thing Andy believes helped him was when he started talking about what was going on in his head -  Thanks for trusting us with your story. Wishing Andy all the best in his upcoming wedding.

Mary Walsh, National Volunteer Coordinator for Grow accepted the cheque on behalf of Grow Southeast Region at the event in March.

Grow are very lucky to be acknowledged by this amazing Group – This is a group that above all else wants to make a difference and encourage people to talk about their Mental Health. We are privileged to be involved with this group as it is Community at its best.
Thanks again for supporting Grow South East. 
Have you been considering taking another step on your leadership journey in Grow? Why not come along to your next online informational forum? If you would like to know more about the role of Group Recorder, please join us on April 12th at 11 AM. Click here to Join the Zoom.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Audrey McLoughlin for her dedication to Grow over the years. She is a great support to all her colleagues. Audrey has always been the friendly voice at the end of the phone when we've all needed assistance or information on Accounts. she has worked tirelessly to bring Grow forward and to ensure that our finances were well managed. a consummate professional

You will be missed Audrey, however, this is the start of a new journey for you.  We all wish you the very best and thank you for your contribution to Grow.
 - Dara Farrelly, Grow Human Resources Officer

Welcome to Celia Brett who will start with Grow on the 3 April to cover Amie Hughes as she heads off on Maternity Leave.
Welcome to Danielle Londra who will start with Grow on the 3 April to cover maternity leave in the digital services Team
Welcome to Antoinette Gallagher who joins us to develop Grow Groups in the Roscommon Area
Welcome to Siobhan Farrelly who joins us as the new HR Administrator for Grow.
We wish you all every success in your new roles.

The following Grow employees will be taking on new roles within the organisation:
Aisling Cassin became Grow's new Finance Manager on 27 March 2023.
Felicia Black joined the Digital Services team as Online AC on 1 April 2023 on a permanent basis.
Amanda Dempsey joined the digital services team as online AC on 1 April on a permanent basis.
Ruth Mangan will join the digital services team when she returns from Maternity leave later in the year, on a permanent basis.
We wish you all every success in your new roles.

Data Officer (25 Hours)
- This role coordinates the data management of Grow Groups, monitoring, reporting, and evaluating the Grow group work in support of Grow’s vision, mission, and goals.  Working closely with the CEO, the Head of National Programmes, and other team members this person will develop and implement all Grow group monitoring, reporting, and evaluation activities that relate to the Grow groups ensuring that these activities meet the needs of Grow and our stakeholders. This role requires experience in Salesforce administration and Microsoft Excel. Click here for information.

Fionance Assistant (18 Hours)
The purpose of the role is to work directly with the Finance Manager and other members of the national support team to ensure the delivery of the Finance work plan driven by the organisation’s strategic plan and objectives. The job holder is expected to operate with autonomy. They will also be directed by the work of the Finance Committee. The Finance Manager will be responsible for agreeing the priorities for this role in consultation with the Finance Manager. Click here for more information.

Our latest podcast is a special one! Jenny and Grow member Gertrude Howley discuss the cycle of support that we come to understand in our peer support groups. Sometimes we need support. Sometimes we give support and all the while we are learning new ways to support ourselves. Thanks for listening! 
Click here for the full episode.

April 2 - Autism Awareness Day
April 7 - World Health Day
April 9 - Easter Sunday
April 14 - International Moment of Laughter Day
April 15 - World Art Day
April 21 - International Creativity and Innovation Day 
April 22 - Earth Day
April 23 - World Book Day
April 28 - World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Open to all staff members. (Attendance to be in your own time) weekly on Mondays @ 2 PM Contact Mary Walsh for the link: [email protected]


Online Grow Group meeting every Friday at 2 PM for any Grow member who might have missed their weekly Group, is looking for some extra support between meetings or would like to offer support to others. Contact Felicia: [email protected]


Our Caring and Sharing Online Coffee Morning is open to anyone in the Grow Community and meets online on the first Monday of every month. Contact [email protected] for details. Why not come along and share with other Grow members and staff in a casual, friendly setting? Our next meeting will be Monday, May 1st.

Have you ever wondered what Grow is all about and how it might help you and your mental wellbeing? Why not join our next ONLINE six-week introductory program? Keep an eye on our website for the next groups starting in May. 
Stay up to date with Grow Ireland by subscribing to our social media channels at the links below.

Grow in Ireland
Registered Charity Number: 200223294
33 Henry Street, Limerick, Ireland
Information Line: 0 818 474 474