Grow Mental Health joins forces with Bus Éireann Expressway
A Christmas dream is coming true for Grow Mental Health, as our message of reconnection with the community is set to reach far and wide with the help of Bus Éireann Expressway.
After being lovingly selected as a charity partner by the creative team at Bus Éireann, we began work on a new campaign that would capture the hearts and minds of people across the country. The result of a combined effort from both organizations, our message of reconnection will appear on bus shelters, social media, and even on a big bus itself!
The campaign centers around The 12 Calls of Christmas Challenge. We are asking the public to do 2 things to get involved:
Take on the challenge and call 12 people that they have lost touch with or who would really benefit from a call over the festive period.
Text reconnect to 50300 to help Grow Mental Health continue supporting those who are struggling with mental health challenges.
This concept was inspired by some beautiful lines from the Grow Program, such as ‘A friend is as far as the nearest phone’and ‘To have a friend, be a friend’, along with our 12 Step program represented in the 12 Calls of Christmas.
What can you do?
We ask that all Grow Mental Health staff, members and friends take on the challenge and call 12 people that you have lost touch with or could do with a check-in.
We encourage those who are on social media to share their #ReconnectionStory with us by tagging @GrowIreland (on Facebook) or @GROW_Ireland (on Twitter) in your post.
Who did you reconnect with and why? We’d love to know!
At this time of year, it is inevitable we look forward to spending time with family, friends and loved ones during the Christmas period. It is a time to catch up with people you may not have seen for a while and inevitably reminisce about happy times gone by. For those of us who have time off this time of year, I am sure it will be a welcome break.I think we can all agree it has been a challenging year for the organisation and for each and every one of you. What pleases me most as Chief Executive is the spirit of our Grow Members, the Board, Regional & Program Teams, and lastly the staff of Grow Mental Health. That was never better illustrated than during the last number of months when everyone rolled up their sleeves and made a fantastic effort in getting our groups online as well as providing support to those who were unable to access support. Although it has been a difficult year, overall Grow has seen many successes.
During this year we have seen the launch of our new logo and branding guidelines. The completion and publication of our Program Book which has been well received. Further updating and branding of our website and social media outlets. Several of our Grow members participated in our new videos, podcasts and the introduction to Grow. I would like to pay tribute to those members and thank them for sharing their testimonies and spreading Grow’s message. You have a made a difference to Grow – but more importantly you have touched many people who are, in need of support, inspiring them to take the necessary steps to change their lives.
We also had great success with the VHI Mini Marathon raising over €11,000. One could say that achieving any one of these in a year would be fantastic. However, it did not end there. We are delighted and excited about our partnership with Expressway. During the Christmas season, all of the Expressway buses will carry Grow Mental Health’s logo and a message of reconnection. The partnership will extend beyond the Christmas period and will take us into 2021.
A lot of work has happened in the background and I would like to thank all who are involved in making this happen. It has truly been a very, successful, year for Grow Mental Health. It is time for us all to step back, reflect and celebrate all that is good. Time to get our Christmas jumpers and join RUGs Ukulele Group for a sing song. Well done and thank you to RUGs: https://youtu.be/xmpbgG0Qu4A
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” – Will Ferrell, Elf
It only remains for me to thank everyone for making this one of the best years for Grow Mental Health. Season’s Greetings to you all. May the good times and treasures of the present become the golden memories of tomorrow. May the Christmas Season bring only happiness and joy to you and your family.
We miss you and hope to physically see you in 2021.
Last call for 2020 Survey
The closing date for our 2020 survey is fast approaching on Friday, December 11th and we need as many Growers as possible to have their opinion counted before it’s too late.
The short survey gives Grow Members an opportunity to tell us how they are progressing in their journey to positive mental health. It also asks for your views about Grow.Grow Mental Health conducts this survey once a year and the feedback provides us with valuable information about the support needs of members. In short, Grow needs the views of its members to grow as an organization in the right direction!
All the information provided is treated in the strictest confidence. No names are given, so it is completely anonymous.
Thank you all in advance for taking the time to fill in this important survey and to tell us what you think.
After the amazing fundraising efforts we experienced in October, miraculously the momentum has maintained for the month of November. Innovative community fundraisers have come out of the woodwork to fly the Grow flag in their own areas. We are delighted to see the enthusiasm of our members and friends throughout the country. Here are some examples:
A sensational fundraising spree was spearheaded by Geraldine Gallagher in the North West region, who raised approximately €600 by taking part in the recent VHI Virtual Mini Marathon in aid of Grow Mental Health. Bowled over by everyone’s kind generosity and support, Geraldine would like to say a big thank you to all for their kindness.
Geraldine says she enjoyed giving something back to Grow Mental Health as it has been a great support to her and something so close to her own heart. She also felt that by talking to family and friends, she was making people aware of Grow itself and received positive feedback from so many people. This also helped Geraldine herself, as it meant she could be more open in her own life and talk freely to more people than ever before.
A big thank you from Geraldine to all who supported her great cause, and thank you so much to Geraldine from all in Grow Mental Health for your amazing work and great achievement.
Friend of Grow
A talented Irish musician took it upon himself to play live acoustic sessions on Facebook in aid of Grow Mental Health! Every Saturday night @DavyFitzMusic drew large audiences to his fundraising performances and well surpassed his €500 fundraising target on iDonate.
We are so impressed that – unknown to himself – Davy followed Step 4 in our 12 Steps if Recovery & Growth ‘We acknowledged our gifts and our strengths’ and Step 12 ‘We carried Grow’s message to others in need.’
His online gigs have increased awareness of Grow Mental Health on social media and have added much-needed funds to our kitty. The staff and members of Grow Mental Health would like to extend a huge thank you to Davy for taking the initiative and making a big difference.
Though never members themselves, Tom and Breda Byrne have been best friends of Grow Mental Health for more than 30 years. Tom was a farmer all his life and Breda was a nurse. People in their local area of Coolnasmear, Dungarvan say that Breda was public health nurse, care doc., social worker all rolled in one before ever such services became available through the HSE.
There are many and varied stories of the homeless, needy and dying that Breda looked after, summoning her husband Tom and her adult children to help with the rota when needed Hearing about the work of Grow Mental Health, it was no wonder that Breda and Tom offered to help in any way they could. Over the years in Dungarvan, our main fundraising activities were Church gate collections in January and ribbon selling outside supermarkets in May. We would always situate Breda and Tom in strategic positions and being well known as farmer and health care worker people literally threw money at them. Where I would get €2, Tom and Breda would get €5 or €10 and where other collectors did an hour or two Tom and Breda would do the whole day and 2nd day if required.
Each year they would raise more than €1,000 on their own and the rest of us did the best we could, always managing to reach our target of 10,000 euro a year. Then two things happened…one gradually and one suddenly. Tom and Breda advanced into their 80’s and while still able to do a bit of fundraising Tom in particular was finding it more and more difficult. Then Covid came and Tom got a new lease of life and a brainwave for collecting money in a time of pandemic and with failing health.
He decided, encouraged by Breda, their adult children and grandchildren to walk laps around his own house and get sponsorship from the family. The video says it all…..one man’s commitment to a movement he believes in and the support of family, immediate and extended. To date Tom has raised more than €1,000 euro for Grow Mental Health from his walking aided by two sticks.
Let’s get behind a good man and his family and give him this sense of achievement and our appreciation for all he and Breda have done and are doing for Grow Mental Health.
Friends of Grow
Grow’s go-to technology team has always been a major helping hand to all of our staff in times of need, but on Tuesday, December 1st, Radius Technologies chose Grow Mental Health as their charity of choice for #GivingTuesday, the biggest day of global giving.
The Radius team spread awareness about Grow Mental Health and the work we do on all their social media channels and encouraged donations. In this time of increased need around the world, we are inspired to see so many generous people like the Radius team continuing to support the work we do in supporting people who are dealing with mental health challenges.
Following on from this, we are hoping others will follow suit and start a fundraising project or make a donation to help us reach our #GivingTuesday goal of €3,000, which will allow us open and run a new groups for 2021. We have seen our enquiries quadruple since the onset of Covid -19 and need your help more than ever to meet the demand.
RUGS, Rathfarnham Ukulele Group, recently covered the catchy ’90s hit Tubthumping in support of Grow Mental Health. Over 30 members of the group played ukulele and sang their hearts out in a contagious, lighten-the-mood-during-lockdown spirit.
RUGS is a Dublin based ukulele group with over 100 members. Unable to meet up or perform gigs due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, the group have been creating ‘virtual performance’ videos instead.
They dedicated their latest video to the late Barry McKiernan, who was a valued friend of Grow, and encouraged people to donate to us. We are beyond grateful to the group for their thoughtfulness and enthusiasm and long may it continue!
By James Corcoran, Mayo member
We are all human beings
So wonderfully made
Often time we make mistakes
So we must not hold on to grudges
As this is unfair and wrong
We must forgive others
To find peace and love again in our lives.
Each of us must forgive ourselves In order to be content
We are all human brothers and sisters
One big human family
The good Lord Jesus
Forgave those who crucified him
So we too must forgive others.
Forgiveness is like a balm which heals all wounds
Forgiving others their faults
Not only helps us
But it can help those we forgive.
YouTube series reaches thousands
… and counting!
Since October 8th, Grow Mental Health has released the first 6 videos in our series on the 12 Steps of Recovery & Growth and each has had a powerful response from members and friends of Grow.
These videos have been watched by over 6,000 people across our media channels and links/adverts for this series have popped up on the screens of approximately 20,000 people- acting as a gentle reminder that Grow Mental Health is active and focused on recovery.
Our subscribers on YouTube have doubled and the numbers gravitating toward Grow’s content continues to rise as we build momentum and maintain a high standard with everything we release.
We are unbelievably proud of the members who have been brave enough to share their stories with the world and we salute them for living and breathing the Grow Program in their daily lives. Their stories are an inspiration to all who have the pleasure of hearing them.
For those of you who have yet to tune in, here are the first 6 videos:
We look forward to releasing the final 6 videos in the new year. To put your name forward for a video please contact [email protected].
A huge thank you to Emily Grufferty for her work with the team in the Western Region. Emily will be leaving Grow on the December 31st. She will be missed by her colleagues and Grow groups in County Mayo with whom she worked for many years and built up very solid bonds. We wish her continued success and every happiness. The new AC for the Western Region is Tracey Halloran who has been covering the role while Emily has been out on maternity leave. We would like to welcome Tracey to the team on a more permanent footing and wish her every success with Grow Mental Health. Tracey will continue her dual role of AC in the West combined with Communications Officer with National.
A great ambassador for Grow in America, Paul Joseph Doebel Jr. of Naperville, passed away peacefully at home with his wife at his side on Wednesday, November 18th. Paul was born on August 30th, 1928, in Chicago, to Paul Doebel Sr. and Margaret (Ritt) Doebel. He was the younger of two children and is survived by his sister, Louise Doebel (Holm). Paul grew up in Chicago’s near-north side a few blocks from Wrigley Field and was a lifelong Cubbies fan. In December, 2019, the Paul Doebel Distinguished Mental Health Service Award was established in recognition of Paul’s 41 years of service to Grow, where he served as Chairman of the Board and Treasurer of its organizations in America, and community mental health. Paul requested memorial contributions be sent to Grow in America at P.O. BOX 3667, Champaign, IL, 61826-0667.
Path of Presence
By Jocelyn Ames
Sang at a recent NVC staff training session
I walk blindfolded in the jungle of your heart
You lead me in your rhythm
And all I have to do is check I heard you well
Rest my hands, rest my mind
No need to fix, no need to find
None of us know where we’re going
I am trusting in not knowing
A wag a day keeps the blues away
By Joan Diffley
Its Thursday morning 8 am, almost synchronized with the alarm clock, I am woken by a paw to the face and a bounce on the bed alerts me to the fact that my mischievous Red Setter has an internal alarm clock for breakfast much more accurate than mine is for work.
I pop my head up and marvel at the limberness of her fantastical yoga like moves as I haul my tired creaky bones up out of bed. Much like a child to a mother, my focus is on her needs, my first thoughts are not anxiety or worry for the day ahead but a chuckle at her bouncing around me.
I am convinced she can understand me for all the chats I have with her. She picks up on my tone and nuances much more than most humans. The subtle change in my voice when I’m on the phone to a friend who has just told me bad news sparks a random move from the sofa to the chair as if she knows I need the cuddle, sometimes it’s not even an audible sound it’s the frustration borne from dealing with an awkward situation and Rua is nuzzling against my legs she knows my moods so well.
The emotional intuition of Rua my best mate is nothing short of remarkable who is now 12 years old. Like most people at times I have struggled massively to find a way to leave the worries of the workday behind, to allow myself down time. I can get stuck in a cycle of thoughts that revolve around me getting through the endless list of tasks I expect myself to complete, or the problems that I know need to be solved tomorrow. However, I have found two wonderful remedies in my canine pal – Distraction and Companionship.
I am forced to be active and healthier because of her. I pull myself away from the stresses of the day going for evening walks with Rua and Sean (the hubby) in Foynes Woods or Aughinish Aluminia laughing at her excitement at throwing and catching the ball and coming back to sound of the whistle. When I pop out to the shops and when I arrive home I’m met at the door with a squeal of excitement, a jump and leap, a wagging tail, a bark and a howl of joy. I was only gone 5min for god’s sake, but it is like this whenever I leave and return.
I have often said I could never be down in myself for long when met by this welcome. Pure love and loyalty and all judgement left at the door. So, this is a word of thanks to Rua- my pal – who ensures I am literally driven to distraction with her antics, that I can take my head out of the unimportant woes of the day and can be present to enjoy the sheer fun and companionship she brings to my life.
Winter Webinar By Clodagh Erasmus
The last of Grow’s free webinars for this year commenced on Wednesday, November 25th. This Winter Webinar series has a range of interesting talks which are free to attend.
Avril Bailey from Dublin Human Givens Centre gave a very insightful talk on Embracing your Emotions to kick start this series. This talk will be followed by a interesting evening on the Benefits of Nature and Walking. Dr. Allan Clarke will deliver an evening on Mindfulness & Meditation and the final talk on December 16th, Ramping Up Your Resilience, will help prepare you to start the New Year with a bit of strength.
For further information or to book a free place you can contact Clodagh Erasmus: [email protected]
Did you know about Grow?
By T. Percy
It began very small
People of every walk
From talking the talk.
To attendant doers
Who walk the walk.
Problems of size
The truth from the lies
All broken down
To give you the will to repair.
People in need
Possible friends indeed
To rid their despair
Helps both to repair.
When home is the head
Mental Health applies
To remedy conditions
That have trice multiplied
So here’s to Grow
Who help us indeed
With our problems,
Real and perceived.
By Amie Hughes, New Staff Member
It’s already been two months since I joined the Grow Mental Health’s Midwest team and now that I’m a seasoned staff member (right?), I thought it was only fair that I say hello to you all and let you know how I’m getting on. As we all know, wisdoms are a central part of the Grow Program so I’m going to share some that I’ve found to be particularly useful to me in my first few weeks.
“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly for a start and while you are improving.”
This wisdom has become my personal mantra as I’m navigating my new job and trying to find my feet.
Starting anything new can be difficult and requires a lot more thought and attention than doing what we know. As I am getting to grips with the Grow Program and all that it involves, I am grateful to have this wisdom as a reminder that we can’t know it all straight away. Hosting my first group meeting alone was more than a little nerve wracking. I worried ‘what will we talk about?’, ‘will they like me?’, ‘will the Zoom behave?’ and ‘what if I need the loo?’. I’ve made mistakes (plenty!) but they have always been met with understanding and a reminder that doing things badly is OK once we are trying and improving.
“To have a friend be a friend”
The best part about joining Grow Mental Health has undoubtedly been the people. The warm welcome I received from staff, volunteers and members was so lovely and made me feel right at home. In particular, Michael was delighted to see me join the team, as he exclaimed “finally, my apprentice is here!”. I’ve expressed my appreciation to many people for the welcome I got and it is usually met with surprise and something along the lines of “sure what else would we do?”. The art of welcoming has become second nature to Grow and that makes me smile, as I think of the many new members who walked in to their first Grow meeting and received the same.
“Each person’s recovery or growth aids the transformation of the world”
I joined Grow because I love working with people and I believe (passionately) in the value of peer support. As I’ve been working with groups, I’ve seen these words come to life and I’ve been so heartened (and, at times, emotional) to see the care and encouragement that exists in the weekly meetings. While every group is different, each one seems to me to have a collective wisdom and an innate sense of what each other needs, in the right measurement, at just the right time.
“Boost your mood with healthy food”
Well, this is awkward.
By Helen Finn, Gorey Group
Now we are at lockdown
But we frown
No where to go
A lot of places closed
We have to stay at home
Should try not to moan
There will be better days a head
And try not to stay in bed
Get up each morning with a smile
Even when everything is in denial
Will see our friends and loved ones In a while.
The bright sun in the Autumn sky
We must think of hope
As we wear our masks
We must remember our task
To wash hands and
Stay 2 metres apart
Advice on Budgeting for Christmas
The 12 Steps of Christmas
1. Make a list!
Decide you need to buy for Christmas. Divide it into gifts, food, clothes and socialising. Use our Christmas planner (www.mabs.ie) to help.
If you have a limited amount of money to spend, what could you cut from the list? Work your way through, numbering items in order of importance.
Where can you buy these items and how much do they cost? Keep an eye on local ads in the paper, websites, and price comparison websites in Ireland for the best deals.
4. Add it up.
Is it a very large figure? If so, look at each individual item again to see how you can reduce the cost.
5. Secret Santa.
Could you suggest a ‘Secret Santa’ to family and friends or use your hobbies and interests to make homemade decorations, gifts and baked goods.
6. How long is left?
How many weeks from now until Christmas? Divide the total cost for your Christmas spending by the number of weeks. This is what you have to save or put aside each week. Starting earlier in the year can help with saving up enough.
7. How much do you have?
If you have been setting money aside over the year to meet the cost of Christmas, well done. Will it be enough?
8. What if it’s not enough?
If you have not been able to put aside any money, or if what you have saved is not enough, then you have a choice; either you cut the money you intend to spend again, or you may decide to borrow.
9. Don’t rely on a Christmas bonus!
Only include income that you are absolutely certain you will get before the Christmas holiday.
10. Shop smartly.
Keep to your list and don’t be tempted by sales or special offers on other items. Check delivery times for items bought online and the return or exchange policy. Keep all receipts together – you may also need to create a folder in your Inbox to save all emailed receipts. Remember the shops only close for one or two days over Christmas, so there is no need for the big shop. Buy small amounts of nonperishable items each week to add to the Christmas treats.
Only borrow what you truly need and not one cent more. Try to make sure you can pay back this loan before the middle of next year, if at all possible, otherwise it makes it difficult to save for next Christmas. Find out what the weekly or monthly repayments are going to be and see how this will affect your budget – can you afford that amount and still pay your regular bills and expenses? Remember to read the terms and conditions of any credit application and make sure you understand what you are agreeing to. Get advice before you sign if you are uncertain. Before you borrow, look again at your list – is it worth it and do you really need it.
12. Avoid the Christmas ‘spending hangover’.
When we struggle all year round, we often feel we need to take a break at Christmas – we want our children and loved ones to have the best. But that doesn’t always mean spending a fortune. Try not to enter the January with debts and it will make Christmas something you look back fondly on.
Happy Christmas from MABS!
For a very brief moment
all that was natural and good
On this beautiful earth
Wept for the passing of one of her creatures
But it was just for a moment
For when the truth dawned on her
there was great rejoicing
As the truly good ones
the truly brave ones
Had been returned to her loving embrace
and made whole again.
How to Have a Good Day
1. Plan the day for 7-10 minutes. Try to plan to do something useful.
2. Work/ Productivity window: Aim for 4 hours, but no more than you’re able for. Perhaps spend some time on paperwork and sorting written notes.
3. Do some research and knowledge building.
4. Include some study time to educate yourself.
5. Do something you enjoy- perhaps a creative period or some exercise. Life is too short to commit long term to something you don’t enjoy.
6. Spend quality time with positive people- need not be physical, but it must be significant. Have a proper meaningful conversation with a person/s in your sphere of Influence .
7. Rethink on your own for at least 15 minutes to figure out why you’re on this earth. What are you doing. what is your purpose and are you working towards that goal? If you’re not happy, build in the momentum to change the situation and move on with your life.
8. Before bed, fill diary with what you feel represents the day for 10 minutes.
9. Choose a helpful, relaxing and clean atmosphere to promote a decluttered mind and cut down on stimulus which can distract your sleep.
10. Write down the last thought or a question you’d like an answer to in your sleep. It can and often does happen. This is part of brain training and shows the subconscious mind working intuitively.
Enjoy Christmas 2020
By Caroline Crotty
Every year there are articles with hints and tips on how to enjoy or survive Christmas. What is marketed as a joyful time for many, Christmas can often be lonely, sad and stressful. As one year ends, we may hold in our minds memories of those who have died or are absent from our lives. We may lament not having children for Santa to visit, or lament the enormous demands being placed on Santa by our children. We might be bursting for Christmas to finally arrive so we can meet our friends and family members. In short, people have very mixed emotions around this time of year.
This is a year like no other and we may be hoping that 2020 will end as quickly as possible so that we can start a fresh, new, hopeful year and 2021 promises to be the year of the vaccine! Not many people know that I can predict the future. This Christmas and New Year are going to be enjoyable. It is going to be a stress-free, fun-filled holiday time. How do I know this? Because you will decide that you are going to enjoy December, no matter what! You are going to reassure yourself that pressure is only for tyres! To reduce stress levels, it is helpful to plan ahead.
Take control of your worries by asking yourself ‘what can I do about this right now?’ or ‘what exactly am I worried about?’ or ‘will this matter next year?’ Decide well in advance what to cook for Christmas dinner; delegate tasks; prepare as much of the meal as possible the day before serving. It is simply a dinner, a fancier dinner with more people usually but it’s still just a dinner.
Make lists of people for whom you will purchase gifts or send Christmas cards. Planning reduces worry and increases feelings of control. Spend within budget if possible because having to pay off debt causes stress. Do not compare the gifts you purchase with others’ gifts. It is not a competition to see who spends or buys the most.
This Christmas make a conscious effort to drink less alcohol. Rather than lowering anxiety and stress levels, alcohol can increase them. Alcohol interferes with our thinking, emotions, feelings and our sleep. It causes us to say and do things we would never do sober or that we are not proud of and with life there is no erase button! This Christmas stay in control by drinking little or no alcohol.
Make time for you to do some deep breathing exercises – slowing your breathing helps you feel relaxed. Take a bath or time-out to gather your thoughts and unwind. Look at the sky or count the branches on a tree or sing or dance in the kitchen – all of which will engage your mind in an activity other than worry.
Mind your body by eating healthily; hydrate with water; sleeping well; get rest, fresh air and exercise. Exercise is vital for releasing feel-good hormones and it is a great reason to take a break away from the house either on your own or with others. Exercise helps avoid the boredom of hanging around.
Laugh and smile because it may encourage those around you to be more pleasant and it will make you feel more positive. Make a huge effort to avoid quarrels or arguments because nothing was ever resolved during a fight. Steer clear of falling into old habits of squabbling with siblings or family members If you are struggling, reassure yourself that Christmas will soon be over, and normality will return. Christmas does not last for ever!
Be prepared to ask for help when you need it. Learn to say “no” if you are up to your eyeballs with things to do or if you do not want to do something. If you have difficulty saying “no” whenever someone asks you to do to something, simply say that you will have a think and get back to them with a decision – this allows you time to decide.
Be kind at every opportunity to adults and especially to children because you never know what is going on in another’s life. Give the gift of listening and hearing what someone has to say. Be gentle. Play and have fun. We would never speak to someone else the way we talk to ourselves so this Christmas speak encouragingly to yourself. And if you find that you need some supports remember to reach out.