For a Life Worth Living Join an Online Support Group

Listen to Ned’s remarkable story of recovery after joining GROW through the eyes of two Area Co-ordinators
Gerry explains how GROW helped him live life to its full potential
Christina explains how GROW helped her through isolation and gave her a sense of personal value
Keith talks about how peer support helped maintain his recovery
GROW Program helped Dara deal with stress and anxiety
Setting goals through GROW tasks helped Andy’s recovery
Watch Youtube video of Christina’s personal story
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What is GROW Mental Health Recovery

GROW Mental Health Recovery is a community-based organisation providing peer support for individuals who may be struggling with a wide range of mental health issues.
We are an organisation that provides a safe and confidential space for people to make sense of what is happening for them, and to find ways to manage the challenges they are facing with the support of others.
Using the experience of others who have taken control of their own recovery, the programme helps you focus on your strengths, not weaknesses, as you work towards wellbeing and recovery.
GROW operates in an accessible manner across the 26 counties of Ireland. Peer support groups are open to those aged 18 and over. There is no charge and no referral is necessary.
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 and aims to:
  • Provide a space where you feel accepted and understood – “I am not alone”
  • Treat everyone’s experiences as being equally important
  • Involve both giving and receiving support
  • Create hope and trust
  • Provide 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.
There is no judgement – everyone is accepted where they are. In GROW it doesn’t matter if you are good academically or have literacy issues, young or older, man or woman – everyone is equal. Everyone in that room wants the best for the person sitting next to them because they know how hard it can be. When one person makes progress the group feel they have made progress.
What are the benefits of peer support?
Peer support is remarkably effective, it is people like you supporting others through difficult times. People may be feeling overwhelmed, stressed, suffering from depression or anxiety but through meeting others who are well on their way to recovery they can share hope and reduce feelings of isolation. Trust and confidentiality, combined with a sharing of stories, effectively helps bonds the group and you find it easier to share than you would outside the group.
Peer support helps people to recognise their own resources and seek their own solutions rather than professionals prescribing the best course of action.
Lots of people find peer support improves their wellbeing and helps them cope with mental health problems. For example, it can:
  • 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 does GROW operate?
GROW is a 12 step programme. We won’t go through the full 12 steps, as it would be a lot to take in right now, but each member works through steps.
The first two steps are “We admitted we had lost our way and needed direction” and “we took our courage in our hands and asked for help”. By simply coming to the group or picking up the phone to discuss with the area coordinator you have already accomplished the first two steps.

Other steps include: “We took care and control of our bodies” and “We learned to think by reason rather than by feeling and imagination”.

Our meetings are anonymous, non-denominational, free and open to all over 18 years of age.

No introductions are needed – just come along.

In the journey of life and recovery there are many different kinds of help. Working the GROW Program will help you identify what feeds your mental wellness. Each person will need to feed their mind, body and spirit in different ways. Only you will know what is helpful for you.

As an organisation we ask that you respect what others feel is attributing or has attributed to their recovery and we ask that you keep an open mind and respect what has worked, or is working, for others.

Music plays a huge part from some. For others it is exercise, diet, or routine and for many it is spiritual guidance.  GROW respects that the things that bring healing can be very diverse and individual.

As GROW is operating in Ireland for over 50 years, some of the wisdoms or literature our community have found helpful may have been written some time ago and therefore clearly from a very different era. However, we believe the wisdom within and the key takeaways are just as relevant now.

If a member’s story encompasses a religious reference we ask that you respect that as part of their story and not the position of GROW as a non-denominational organisation.

Proof GROW works
Research conducted by Trinity College Dublin in 2017 examined the ‘transformative power’ of GROW’s peer-support programme in assisting recovery from mental illness. The research found that peer and community support, as well as everyday social interactions, play a vital role in mental health recovery.
The research concluded that those engaging with GROW Mental Health Recovery were:
  • Less likely to say they were ‘bothered’ by their symptoms
  • More likely to be coping well with their mental and emotional well-being
  • Less likely to have had a relapse in the last year
  • More likely to participate in community activities regularly
  • More likely to achieve a personal goal
  • Like to have found it to have a positive effect on employment
  • More likely to have a positive sense of their self-esteem
  • More likely to feel ‘very optimistic’ about the future
  • Unlikely to require hospitalisation for mental health reasons
  • More likely to take part in physical exercise
What is the structure of a meeting?
Over the course of each meeting, the peer group engages in a series of group discussions, interactions, and readings that follow a structure and timetable to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate.
Our meetings are usually in single numbers, five to eight members is the average. On arrival you can sit in a circle with members, give your first name and relax. For the first three weeks you can listen in, ask any questions you may have and see if the programme is for you. If it helps you can bring along a friend or family member for the first three weeks for support. You will be given a book (this is called the Blue Book) with the programme, a ‘Method Card’ with the structure of the meeting so you can follow the group method.
You may feel anxious about the idea of discussing your issues in a group but it is important to note that the structure of the meeting allows you the opportunity to contribute in a manner that makes you comfortable. You will be given the opportunity to take part by joining in a discussion, sharing your experiences at the appropriate time, or by offering encouragement and assistance to others.
What is the Method Card?
The GROW method card is really an agenda card which everybody can use to follow the meeting. It is separated into six sections.
GROW meetings are structured so that it has five parts where the meeting is divided into sections, allowing all present time to talk.
During the meeting we structure the meeting through use of the program (The blue book). We pause for half a minute to collect our thoughts. We then read the twelve steps, then the commitment to confidentiality. At this stage if anyone is in crisis, we would devote time to supporting them. If there are no urgent or pressing problems we continue to a personal story. This is where a member would share their story of recovery or their ongoing battle with mental health, it is very moving and personal, and it usually resonates with other people who can relate to different aspects.
After discussion and feedback, we begin the reports on progress including current problem solving. Each member can reflect on the week and any difficulties they may have encountered. With support and problem solving from the group and overtime the member may develop more insight into their position. We also encourage the member to take on a “Weekly task”, this could be a phone call they have been avoiding or keeping appointments.