February 2023 Newsletter – Personal Value

In Ireland, February signals the return of colour. We start to see flowers popping up, fewer clouds, and longer stretches of light in the evening. Valentine's Day is also in February when many of us show our love for others with flowers, chocolates, cards, and all kinds of romantic acts. This month in our Grow Mental Health Groups, we are taking the opportunity to talk about loving others AND ourselves. We are taking a closer look at personal value and how we can give ourselves the respect and kindness that we so freely give to others. One of the keys to recovery and growth is love and when we learn to love ourselves, we become stronger, healthier, and a beacon of hope for others. Join us this month as we look at many acts of love for others and ourselves.

We would love to hear from you on our social media channels or over email: [email protected] 



Michele Kerrigan, Chief Officer, Grow Mental Health

It is with gratitude and appreciation that I look back at 2022 and all that we accomplished together at Grow Mental Health. As we slowly opened back up to in-person meetings and social events, evolved our online offerings, launched an online Leadership Course, and most importantly supported our community, we did so with grace and determination. I want to extend a sincere thank you to all of the people who made 2022 one of our most productive years to date. You are the reason we are able to meet every person who comes to a Grow meeting with care and kindness. Thank you to the team at Grow HQ, the regional teams and managers, our hard-working Area Coordinators, and every single volunteer. Thanks to each of you for faithfully shepherding our community through the rocky times.

I look forward to 2023 with hope and clarity of purpose. Our new strategy for Grow Mental Health, Change and Growth, comes together at an important time for the organisation. As we re-emerge from COVID-19, we have a new understanding of the need to work together, to change and grow.

Covid acts as a reminder of connectedness and community and how if we work together, we can achieve so much more.  Covid opened opportunities for us in terms of supporting people online through peer support, social events, training, and development. New opportunities exist which are real, achievable, and not just a possibility. 

Our new strategy is about Change and Growth which can be a painful but rewarding process. The past two years have taught us that we need to be agile, be able to respond to external factors, and change how we operate.  Our strategy builds on our experience of change, change which we had no control over but responded so well to the emerging situations.  The strategy allows us to build upon our experience of change and growth in a more proactive manner rather than reactive and to set the foundations for the coming years.  

When we work together to focus our efforts, share the tasks, and are clear about our objectives, we can succeed. 

Over the coming months, we will see a new Vision for Grow.  Grow’s Vision statement will have the ability to inspire and motivate. It will provide a line of sight, direction, and where Grow Mental Health wants to be in the coming years.

I look forward to working with you during what will be an exciting year for all of us.  At times it may be painful however Grow the organisation and Grow members have shown how resilient we were during the pandemic. I believe we can and will succeed with our new strategy. 

What are the Seven Secrets of Success you might ask?  Some people will seek the answers to success by reading extensively, listening to podcasts, and asking gurus.  I will leave you with the Seven Secrets of Success and where I found them. I found the answers in my room.

Roof said: Aim high
Fan said: Be cool
Clock said: Every minute is precious
Mirror said: Reflect before you act
Window said: See the world
Calendar said: Be up to date
Door said: Push hard to achieve your goals.


Throughout 2023 Grow Mental Health will be focusing on securing more corporate relationships, where we can leverage financial support, to help us in our work. 

We are hopeful that from time to time these new relationships will work with us to recognize and thank many of you, (our group members and colleagues) for the consistent work you do in supporting the mental health of others. Without you, our groups and program could simply not exist here in Ireland.

We are currently compiling a postal list in order to be in a position to distribute tokens of our appreciation so please email us with your address before Feb 8th at [email protected] and let us know which group you attend.

If you would like to nominate another member or Area Coordinator please let them know you are nominating them and send their details and a little note explaining why you have chosen them. 

All emails (with postal details) which we receive before Feb 8th will be entered into a draw to win one of 3 LEAP cards (worth €25) which can be used anywhere in Ireland.

Please do not feel any pressure at all to share your postal address with us and only do so if you are comfortable receiving items from Grow Mental Health.

You can also be assured that we will only share your address with a third party for the purpose of delivery/postage.

If at any time you would like to be removed from our contact list, you can do so by asking your AC or emailing us at [email protected], requesting removal.

Support through the season
by Jonathan, Grow Eastern Region

Between birth and death, we journey through this world. We journey each day and stop and rest each night to journey on the next day. Many of us have no strong sense of direction, purpose or destination. For many this is natural, they wander from one adventure to another. They go where life takes them. Trusting life will take them where they need to go. To teach them what they need to learn. And ultimately to take them home.

While this is true for all of us, however paradoxically, for many they need and search for a purpose, a meaning, a vocation or goal. They find a path in the randomness of life. The Native Americans called it the Pollen Path. Your own blessed path through this life.

Some, even in childhood, know what they want to do. But for most we wander for many years or decades as adults lost, searching for a path, a way, our home or treasure. Because we often suffer in the search, when we do find our path we treasure it.

Often our path transcends us in a way. We want to help others or make them happy. So, we are not just living for ourselves anymore. For some the goal is to set up a business to provide a service, to write a novel or for those on a spiritual path home could be a state of enlightened consciousness. However, for the path or home to stay alive it must be shared. As we make our humble hero’s journey through life we have to overcome many trials. However, when we find the treasure we must return and share the treasure or we would not be heroes. Life would not be renewed unless the treasure found is shared.

Also, we journey from childhood to adulthood to old age and maybe beyond. We journey from innocence to knowledge, grow in wisdom, and may return to innocence. Each stage in life comes with its trials and lessons. Resisting this part of the journey only increases our suffering and hinders our growth. There are other milestones on the journey. Our first day in school, our first kiss, our first job, and marriage becoming a Mother or Father and a Grandparent, retirement, and passing on out of this world. Life is a mixed bag. Filled with blessings to be grateful for, difficulties to overcome, opportunities to explore, decisions to make, and grief and longings at times. Good times too. Some find meaning in sharing their life with another or in parenthood, others go it alone. Some learn to live with ill health or disability and grow with all the challenges they bring.

The journey is often to find and manifest love in one form or another. We may journey for quite some time before we hit on our path. We may come to many forks in the road, and we must make choices.

Having a strong sense of your path can help you weather the storms of life that can get disorientating. It won’t take you too long to pick up your path again. Also having that strong sense of meaning will also help give you a sense of personal value. That is a treasure in and of itself.

If you are confused about your path you are among many. It can be basic. A boy was asked by his teacher, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, he replied, “Kind.” So if you are wandering or on a path, enjoy the journey. There is no hurry. And remember the obstacles don’t block the path they are the journey. Bon Voyage!

Grow Member Gratitude
By Carol Mussey, Grow in America

I am valuable. I was born valuable, and I will remain valuable throughout my life and ever after. My value does not change from one day to the next. Life around me changes; I change, and other people change, but my personal value is constant and unchanging.

I am still valuable, even when I feel bad about myself. Maybe I am feeling depressed and worthless. Perhaps I feel bad because I am unemployed or did not finish high school or because I believe that I have no friends. Still, I cannot go by my feelings because they don’t reveal my true worth.

I don’t have to earn my value. It is intrinsic to my very being. No matter where I live, how I look, or how much formal education I have had, my value doesn’t change. Even if I am homeless or incarcerated or have an addiction, I am still valuable. Not even my own wrong- doings can diminish my personal value.

I don’t have to be perfect to be valuable. No one is perfect, and everyone has troubles in life, including me. Perhaps I suffer from a mental illness or disability. Maybe I have money problems or conflict in my family. Or it could be that I have trouble getting along with people or have problems with shyness. Maybe I feel ashamed about something, or perhaps I am too hard on myself. None of this changes my personal worth.

Other people cannot damage or destroy my personal value. Even if I was abused or neglected or abandoned as a child, my value remains constant. Maybe people around me don’t accept me, or they are disrespectful to me, and I feel isolated and misunderstood. Despite that, I am still valuable.

No matter how worthless I feel, I am not alone. My Grow group and trustworthy friends are there to help me understand and accept my personal value, and when I forget, my group will be there to remind me. These friends, who truly care about me and know me so well, can reflect back to me my true self.

And then the day will come when I don’t need others to remind me of my value. Then I will be certain of my own truth—that I am still valuable; my life has a purpose; and I have my unique place and my unique part to play.

Video Image
Does love make you think of roses and love hearts or a shoulder to cry on? Is love taking out the bins without being asked or hiring a skywriter to make a grand declaration? What does love look and feel like to you? Part of our Grow program of hope and recovery focuses on love and breaks it down into three different types of love - Effective, Affective, and Reflective love. This short video above (click on the image to play) attempts to depict the difference and similarities between them. Whatever love is to you, we hope you are able to give and receive it in abundance this Valentine's Day and every day. Click the image above to see more.


Pictured here is Grow Mental Heath Area Coordinator Jerry Cronin introducing Grow to the Blue Line Community Event at Ballybunion Community Centre on Thursday, January 26th. Attendance was about 200 people and a wonderful opportunity to promote a new Grow Group opening in Ballybunion on 22nd February of this year. As always, our groups are free, non-judgemental, and open to anyone over the age of 18 facing a mental health challenge. For more information on the Ballybunion Group, Contact Jerry ([email protected], 086 0271990).


January was a busy month for the Midwest team as we spoke at two events. We joined Midwest ARIES and a panel of mental health organisations to discuss innovations in mental health services and Grow Mental Health's plans for the coming year. We also delivered a talk to a group of 60 third level students about managing stress and minding your mental health. After all that, we had worked up an appetite so we headed to Marco Polo in Limerick City with over 20 members for a lovely meal to end the month and celebrate making it through January.


The Southern Region celebrated its first Grow Social Dinner post-pandemic in the atmospheric surroundings of the Elm Tree Restaurant, Glounthane, on Friday evening, 27th January. This was the first Southern Region Social since lockdown and it was lovely to see everybody together again and an excellent way to beat the January Blues.

As always, the fare served at the Elm Tree was exceptional and it was a wonderful occasion for everyone to reconnect again over fine food and conversation.

It was also the first opportunity for the new Regional Team to get together socially in 2023 and to meet up with all the Southern Regional Growers from around Cork city and county. Jeanette O’Leary, the new Southern Regional Chair, organised a fun raffle on the night with many great prizes to be won.


It was also a fond farewell to our outgoing Treasurer, Jim Murphy, who gave of his time and expertise so tirelessly to Grow over the past 10 years. Jim diligently organised the finances of the Southern Region, reviewing procedures and advising the board on financial strategy, preparation of accounts, and working to Charity Regulator's financial guidelines and policies at all times. His commitment and dedication to Grow, along with his optimistic and fun nature made him a pleasure to deal with for all who had the good fortune of coming into contact with him. Jim will be very much missed and all in Grow extend every good wish and appreciation to him for his contribution and hard work over the past ten years.

All in all, it was a very successful, if long overdue gathering, and many thanks go to Jeanette O’Leary and Brenda Beausang for all their efforts in organising a fantastic and fun-filled evening – hopefully, the first of many for 2023!



  • Develop Grow’s Caring Sharing Community: Sharing what is working well in our region with others. This could be hints and tips re. the Group or ideas for 12 Step work.
  • Building Community - National 12 Step work - Facilitate members meeting other members
  • Encourage members to take part in smaller gatherings first: To help eliminate the fear when attending other Grow events. We all know it easier go somewhere for the first time if we know some people attending. As we have always done in the past encourage members to attend the Regional Weekend first where the numbers attending are relatively small before progressing on to the National Weekend – where attendance is much higher.
  • Empowering members to attend larger gatherings outside of Grow when Ready
  • Peer Support – though Brainstorming and sharing ideas – for members by members.
  • An opportunity to inform members about other relevant activities available to them.

Who: Grow members

What: A cuppa in a comfortable non-judgemental environment

When: First Monday of the Month @ 11 a.m., NEXT MEETING MONDAY, 6th February @ 11 a.m

Hopefully, members who cannot normally attend due to work commitments can attend as it is a Bank Holiday.

Where: On Zoom

Join Zoom Meeting Here

Meeting ID: 875 2299 8071
Passcode: 542954
One tap mobile
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A heartfelt THANK YOU to McCarthy Insurance Brokers of Cork. They are the insurance brokers for all our insurance needs throughout the year.  The staff at McCarthy generously made personal donations over the holiday season which were matched by the company and donated to Grow Mental Health. The donation totaled €1,300! This generous contribution will be used to fund our continued work with Grow Groups across Ireland. Many thanks to those at McCarthy Insurance and to all of our donors throughout the year. We value your generosity immeasurably. In the photo, Jenny Synnott from Grow Mental Health with Alan Cleary of McCarthy Insurance Group.
Due to very high demand, Grow Mental Health is launching an online Men's Group starting on Tuesday, February 7th at 10:30 AM. This free online peer support group will meet weekly for approximately 90 minutes. Our Grow Mental Health Groups are run and attended by people who have lived experience of mental health challenges and recovery based on the Grow Program and a 12 Step approach. To learn more about our new Men's Group, contact Jerry Cronin at the link below.
Find out more ›
We are delighted to announce that the latest collection of Grow Mental Health Stories of Hope and Recovery is now in print! Longtime Grow Members Mike Watts and Denis Bergin have teamed up to curate this inspiring and heartbreaking book that is essential reading for anyone working toward mental health recovery and those supporting them. There are 20 real life stories from Grow members touching on themes of anxiety, depression, addiction, grief, psychosis, and most importantly HOPE and RECOVERY. Dr. Pat Bracken penned the foreword and the book concludes with some highlights from the Grow Program. We extend a heartfelt thank you to Mike, Denis, Pat, and everyone who so generously and bravely shared their story so that others might learn from their experience. If you would like to get your copy of Stories of Hope and Recovery, talk to your local area coordinator or to Aisling in the Grow Kilkenny Offices ([email protected]  Tel: 086 032 5627)
In December, our focus was on Support throughout the Season. The holidays can be a joyful time for many, but for others, it can be a lonely or triggering time. Jenny is joined by Annabel and Paul who are Grow Group members and hold positions on the Grow Mental Health Board for a discussion on some of the challenges of the holiday season and ways that we can support ourselves and others who are struggling. The wisdom that comes through is relevant to any time of the year. Our Grow community is here to support and listen today and every day. Listen here!

 Podcast Cover Art

We are currently recruiting for the role of Area Coordinator, Maternity Cover (starting mid-April 2023 through to 2024). This a part-time role with 21Hours per Week (Monday to Wednesday with some evening work). The role is based in the Limerick Office and working in the Field (covering Limerick, Clare, and North Tipperary). The closing date for Applications is 19 February 2023 with interviews in Limerick on 7 March 2023. Click here for the full listing.

Grow is delighted to announce the more permanent appointment of our digital services development manager - Colette Flannery. Colette took on the role as part of a pilot in 2022 and thanks to her and others we have receive more permanent funding for this team. We wish Colette continued success with the role as she begins to build a more permanent team around her and grow our online offerings to people across Ireland.

February 4 - World Cancer Day
February 14 - Valentine's Day
February 20 - International Day of Social Justice
February 21 - International Mother Language Day

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 2PM 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?

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