January 2023 Newsletter – Self-Activation

A new year filled with possibility!

What have you decided to bring with you into 2023? What have you decided to leave behind? January is a time to take stock and make plans. At Grow Mental Health we are delighted to be ringing in a new year full of change, support, connection, integrity, inclusion, and hope. This month, we are talking about self-activation and the steps, little and big, we can all take today to start seeing the changes we've imagined. In Grow, we believe that our own efforts at recovery and growth are irreplaceable. Join us this month as we explore self-activation and change. Happy New Year to everyone in our Grow Community!

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

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Happy New Year
Each year at this time we like to take a look back at the previous year's journey. 2002 was a year of coming back together for Grow Mental Health. Here are a few of the highlights...Our in-person groups re-opened while our online offerings went from strength to strength. We welcomed new colleagues, volunteers, and members. We were able to socialise and carry out our 12th Step work together and not over Zoom. Many of us took part in the 2nd Annual YELLOWWALK for Grow in April. After many months of work, we launched an online leadership course for our members, staff and volunteers. There is too much to list here, but please watch this video to see more. 2022 was one of the best years yet for Grow Mental Health and none of it would have been possible without the tireless work of our volunteers, members, and staff. Here's to another year of being together, continuing to live the Grow Program of hope, growth and recovery, and being Ireland's largest mental health peer-support community.
Grow 2022 Highlights ›
Learning from the Grow Program

The Grow Program works through a process of self-activation through mutual help. Everyone attending the meeting is there primarily to work on his/her own life. As ‘The Dividing Line’ illustrates, all of us have a side to our lives with which we have to struggle as we grow as human beings. This is acknowledged every week in the fourth clause of the commitment: ‘I commit myself to a journey of personal growth and change by using the Grow Program and the Group Method’.

Our reports on personal growth offer inspiration and challenge to other group members. The more we share our story of recovery, the more hope lives in our group and that hope, in turn, transfers to the extended community. As we become more reasonable, loving, reliable, and capable of meeting the ordinary challenges of everyday life, we affect those around us and our relationships change. Unfortunately, some of those close to us may resent those changes, at least initially. Others may choose to re-examine their own lives in light of the positive model of growth we offer.

Families are likely to become more supportive and trusting. Doctors are more likely to encourage further efforts to get back to normal, responsible living. Meanwhile, the group, which sees you lead by example, may offer you more challenging opportunities to help others through various leadership roles.

By Jonathan, Grow Member, Easter Region

Sometimes I have a lot to do, or my mood is low, and the thought of doing thing

s is overwhelming. The motivation is minimal or non-existent. This is where the To-Do List, the one piece of advice from my father, and a piece of the Grow Program do their magic!

First is the To-Do List. I make my list the night before. Quite often if I have a number of things to do the next day and it can seem a lot, the things revolve around my head. However, when I write them down the list is not as big as I imagined. It looks doable. It also gets it out of my head. I make peace with what needs doing. It's also like signing a contract- I make a commitment.

When I get up in the morning I’m organised. I have a plan of action. Sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes I’m still low or lethargic. Then I remind myself of my father’s one piece of advice. “The motivation comes after you start.” I have found these words to be true. They inspire and reassure. And true enough a while after I begin, I get on a roll and the energy flows.

Lastly at times, and quite often, I use that nugget of Grow wisdom, I can compel my muscles to move in spite of my feelings (PB p. 24). Here some willpower is needed to jump-start you with the faith that you will get moving and get the job done. You always feel better after you get the job done. Gives you a healthy pride.

It’s a pleasure, satisfying, and motivating to tick things off your To-Do List.

Oh, what fun we had in December singing and raising awareness for Grow Mental Health. The Grow community came together all over Ireland to spread holiday cheer and raise vital funds for Grow. Thanks to our bucket shakers and our partners at Bus Éireann, we raised over €4,500 that will be spent on Grow activities and 12th-step work throughout the regions. 

See some highlights here!

Written by Grow in Kilkenny

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – President Theodore Roosevelt.

The above quote gives much food for thought, but the part about ‘there is no effort without error and shortcoming’ is very relevant to us in Grow Mental Health.  Each week we take a practical task to change some part of our life – be it great or small.  Perhaps we forget that we commit to merely make the effort – we are not promising 100% success, since we cannot know beforehand how well our efforts fare. 

Roosevelt’s quote reminds us that it is our constant efforts that build character.  It also hints that success or failure can be random.  But if we develop the habit of constantly making an effort, then our numerous successes will more than compensate for our equally numerous failures.  Perhaps there is only one true failure in life – the failure to make an effort.  If we try but don’t succeed, at least we learn from the experience and can do better next time.  But we can never learn anything if we don’t take the risk, and don’t make an effort.  This brings to mind a quote from Maya Angelou:  “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you cannot practice any other virtue consistently”.

Grow Wisdom 3



My own life can be compared to a simple jigsaw
Many missing pieces and other pieces not fitting
It is fair to say that it is not really fully complete
But I keep on working on it with real hope of achieving

A simple jigsaw can be compared to my own life
Often losing my way and that feeling of misfitting
It’s fair to say that life can be tough and difficult
But I keep on going with that great hope of belonging

There is no such thing as a perfect life for anyone
With so many missing pieces for us to work on

Ed Devery
Grow Member, Midlands Region


By Jonathan, Grow Member, Eastern Region

Naturalists have said nature is about the survival of the fittest. But now they understand that cooperation and bonds of love are stronger. There are many instances in nature of individuals of a species caring for each other and are greater than the sum of the individuals.

Bees of a hive work together and produce not just enough but an excess of honey. By weight of mass, the humble little ant and termites are the most successful creatures on the planet. Mammals nurture their young with love and can heal each other’s sadness and wounds with compassion. One individual will lick the wound of another.

Bonobo monkeys are especially caring. The young are raised by the whole troop. One naturist observed in one troop that one Bonobo was elderly and blind, and the other monkeys would pick her up and take her to where she needed to go.

Lone wolves are intelligent hunters but in a pack, they are a lot smarter and more capable. Meerkats keep lookout for each other. Shoals of fish and flocks of birds find safety in numbers. It is now known that crows are organised. At the end of the day, they communicate with each other as to where food is located. In the morning most of the crows will fly to the food sources. However, a number will volunteer to find new sources of food and will relay their discoveries at the end of the day. Recently naturists have discovered that trees in a forest are connected by roots and fungi fibres and share water and nutrients with each other. Sometimes with different species of trees. By looking after individuals, you look after the whole forest too.

Many of us have experienced times when we struggle and feel weak. Often the love and kindness of a fellow being not only heals but makes us stronger and renews courage. Love casts out fear and helps bear all. Together we are stronger.


Kate Slater, Area Coordinator in the Southeast retired from her position at the end of December 2022.

Kate has been part of the fabric of Grow Mental Health in the Southeast for over 10 years and has shone in so many different roles there.

Kate came to Grow MH as a member initially and very quickly took on board the concept of leadership, taking on roles within her group and supporting her fellow members.

Kate’s commitment to volunteerism continued over the years. She joined the Regional Team and became a member of the National Program Team. Kate has also given of her time to supporting the Staff Induction/Support Grow group and was an invaluable and generous support to all of us who struggled with Zoom and related technology issues when Covid happened.

Kate came to work with Grow a few years ago on a CE scheme and was a central part of the Team that worked on the impressive production of the 50th Anniversary Magazine.

Kate was then asked to take on the role of supporting groups in Wexford when aStaff member was on sick leave, this she did willingly and well for a number of months. She was then asked to increase her hours with Grow MH and take on the position of Area Coordinator.

In her role as AC, Kate has supported groups in Kilkenny, Carlow, Cashel and Clonmel and has given 100% to supporting the people attending and the development of the groups.

Kate, together with Aisling, Administrator in the Region, has done incredible work in sourcing our new building in Kilkenny and moving Grow MH out of Ormonde Home and into Bridgewater House. The hours of work and physical effort that went into this move cannot be quantified and Kate’s part in it was carried out with her usual practical, efficient and can do attitude to all she takes on.

As a Region, we would be bereft if Kate was completely leaving us, but we are so glad that she is staying on as a Volunteer, Group Support to the Cashel Group, and Regional Team member.

As Kate’s colleague and later, her Line Manager, I want to personally thank Kate for her selfless contribution to Grow MH in the Region, for her willingness to always get stuck in and give her best to any task she is asked to take on, and for her good humour and lovely approach to life and living which endears her to us all.

On behalf of all in Grow MH, Nationally and in the Southeast, we thank you Kate for all you have done to date with and for Grow, we wish you well in your (semi) retirement and we remain very thankful that you will be part of the future of Grow MH in the Region – may the best in life, loveand happiness be yours.

Mary Purcell
Regional Manager,
Southeast Region.

Kate Slater


Many thanks to those who came along to our very first monthly Volunteer Coffee Morning of 2023. It was a great exchange of ideas and a nice way to catch up after the holiday break. 

Coffee mornings are open to anyone in the Grow Mental Health community - members, staff, and volunteers.

We meet on the first Monday of the month via Zoom and you can find the link here:


Meeting ID: 875 2299 8071
Passcode: 542954

Mark your calendars!


Are you happy that the holidays are over or sad to see them go? The Joyful Season can feel very different for different people. Maybe you are one of the many people who can't find the 'comfort and joy' promised in the songs and films, this podcast is for you! Jenny is joined by Grow Mental Health Board and Group members Annabel and Paul to discuss the support that the Grow Program and community offer at this time of year to help those struggling to cope. We discuss the importance of both connection and space for getting through the holidays.

In Grow, we say: You alone can do it, but you cannot do it alone. Our Grow community offers support at any time of the year. Listen here!

 Podcast art

January 1 - New Year's Day
January 2 - World Introvert Day
January 3 - International Mind Body Wellness Day
January 6 - Nollaig na mBan
January 15 - World Religion Day
January 24 - International Day of Education

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]

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