June 2024 Newsletter – Let the Light Shine!

June 2024 Newsletter:
Let the light shine!
In Ireland, June means longer days, summer fun, and re-connecting. This month, we see our GO YELLOW! fundraiser taking place between June 20th and 23rd. We will come together in person and online to celebrate the hope that the brighter days bring and raise vital funds for Grow. We do this each year to ensure that our free mental health support groups remain free. We do it to expand our network of online and in-person groups. We do this to grow our offerings in communities across Ireland. Please consider joining one of our events or creating one of your own. Whatever you do, remember to celebrate the light and connections you find in June in Ireland. You can reach us on our social media platforms and by email [email protected]

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You can support Grow Mental Health and our vision of an Ireland where no one needs to navigate mental health challenges or life’s struggles alone by making a donation now.

Make A Donation
June 20th - 23rd, Nationwide and Online

Our annual GO YELLOW! fundraiser is shaping up to be a big one this year. Events have been planned all over Ireland and Online and the creativity is really showing. There are meditation and relaxation sessions, a Mid-summer treasure hunt, a mountain hike, walks, swims, picnics and more. There are many ways to get involved from joining an event or donating to the wider campaign, to creating your own fundraising event. You can do it all at grow.ie/goyellow. 

If you aren't able to make one of the in-person events but want to connect with the Grow community and the GO YELLOW! campaign, consider registering for our online event. There will be special guest speakers and a chair yoga session to work out the stress of the day. All from the comfort of your own laptop or phone.

In whatever way you can, help us create a SEA OF YELLOW across Ireland between June 20th and 23rd.
September 20th - 22nd, 2024

The excitement is building for the National Weekend! We are busy putting together a program of talks and workshops that focus on the theme of Storytelling / Telling Your Story.

Telling your own story is a huge part of Grow and a real tool of self-understanding, self-acceptance and recovery. Hearing the stories of others is one of the main sources of hope and inspiration (Stories of Hope & Recovery, p. 134).

We hope you can join us to learn more about how and why we tell our own stories.

The weekend will be in Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise, between September 20th and 22nd.

All costs:
Single Room- EUR289.00
2 sharing in a twin / double room - EUR169.00 per perso

Day Passes:
20th Sept (Fri) - EUR15.00 per person
21st Sept (Sat) - EUR30.00 per person
22nd Sept (Sun) - EUR15.00 per person

Book your place here from 18 June - please book early to be guaranteed a place

By Lorraine, Sligo Grow Group Member

Nurture the gentle flower

Of your soul.
She has been crushed
By the struggles of life.

Grant her refuge

In kind thoughts.
Cradle her in compassion,
As you slowly sip your tea.

She is your lifelong companion,

That inner self
Who knows your true worth.
Let her tell you her pain,

Her sorrow, her fears.

Promise to stay by her side,
As you walk the path of hope

By Daniel Grow Group Member, Southeastern Region

Friday 17th May to Sunday 19th May.
The weekend in Mount St Anne’s was the first Grow weekend since COVID, and my first Grow event altogether. Arriving at the retreat centre, I felt a sense of calm and the location itself was stunning. A walk through a wooded area nearby lets you take in nature, a field populated by cows and sheep with their lambs, or simply the beauty of the building itself. The first evening was very much a meet and greet and settling in.

The second day was when the work, as one might call it, began. A welcome from Mike followed by a moving testimony. During the weekend we found ourselves lucky enough to be allowed a look into another individuals life through their stories. These, to me, offered one the best parts of the weekend. These parts led to an incredible feeling, which we often struggle to describe. A deep feeling of spirituality and connection with others that is absent from everyday life in many ways. It is the same feeling that I get when I attend my local Grow meetings. This feeling allowed for trust and empathy to be shared. The empathy carried out with every act throughout the weekend, whether it be the simplicity of passing somebody the salt at dinner or showing appreciation for someone for sharing their personal testimony. It was something that wasn’t visible, but felt. Being in the room during these testimonies one could see people being truly present in the moment, allowing themselves to be free of their worries, fears and traumas. The beauty in someone giving the gift of themselves through their testimony showcased to me the very essence of Grow itself. It allowed us to find spiritual meaning in the weekend. To find meaning is to open your heart to something. To trust, to look past fear, which leads to the best in us. It felt like everyone was able to find meaning in the testimonies. This difficult to quantify feeling surrounded the entire weekend, and left the weekend feeling like what hospital should be.

Before the weekend ended on Sunday we would once again have the pleasure of hearing further testimonies which left me with the same feeling as the first. The same feeling I get when I attend my Grow group, and the same feeling I have while writing this. The feeling of belonging to something bigger than myself. The feeling that I was safe and that I was home.

After the testimony we took part in a workshop with Sister Gertrude Howley on boundaries. She was assisted by Chris. Through role-play scenarios and passionate teaching they carried out a workshop which I doubt many will forget. As the day progressed optional workshops were available. I myself, took part in an art pastel workshop with Emma. It gave me a lovely feeling that I had in primary school just enjoying creating something. I have since picked up pastel art as a hobby so to Emma, I thank you for showing me something different that I had never quite done before.

Other workshops included tai chi with Sinead, story writing with Sé and relaxation with Felicia. From speaking to other attendees I learned that these workshops were incredibly relaxing and rewarding, while also allowing for growth through a shared experience. They helped people to interact and got them out of their comfort zone. As the grow wisdom states “ feel the fear and do it anyway”.

Later that night there was live music from Ned who was fantastic and brought an
incredible atmosphere and spirit to the night. As I awoke Sunday I thought I would be sad to be leaving, but I wasn’t. To me it felt like I could not think badly of this place. The kindness and enjoyment had left a permanent mark on me. I attended the morning thanks and shortly after we had a final workshop with Treasa on leadership. It was beautiful to see the amount of people who attended and were interested in it. It really left me with a positive feeling for the future, knowing that people who have been through hard times were so interested in how they could fill leadership roles not only in Grow, but in their communities.

To all of the staff in the centre and to the Grow staff, I thank you for all your hard work and perseverance to set up and carry out this weekend. I also thank you for being so accessible and letting yourselves be part of those beautiful moments in which that shared understanding was present. It really put me at ease and showed that even the staff themselves truly understand the very ethos of Grow. To each attendee I thank you for putting yourself out there when it was hard, because it led to a weekend that I certainly will never forget.

Top left, Emma of Emma Philips Art led the engaging and inspiring pastels workshop. https://www.emmaphillipsanimalart.com/
Other photos of the stunning grounds at Mount St. Anne's Retreat Centre in Portarlington. 
By Barry, Knocklyon Grow Group Member

When darkness folds the corners of your day
Let it roll over. Don't be afraid.
Sit until it passes through
What else can you do?
Let the rain wash your face
Then wipe it clean away
Brush off its gray trace
Get on with your day. 
By Caroline Crotty, Grow Area Coordinator and Head of Digital Services

After a long hiatus due to the pandemic, Grow’s Southeast (SE) community was delighted to reunite for a much-anticipated regional weekend. This event, held in the picturesque setting of Mount St. Anne’s Retreat and Conference Centre in Portarlington, marked the first gathering since pre-Covid times, bringing together members from groups throughout the SE.

Weekend Overview
From the moment we checked in on Friday afternoon, May 17th, there was an atmosphere of excitement and curiosity. Special thanks to staff members Caroline, Felicia, Fiona, Liz, Treasa, and manager Mary Purcell. Their efforts ensured an enjoyable and relaxed weekend from start to finish. Everyone who contributed to the weekend's success deserves recognition - your efforts did not go unnoticed – thank you!

Happy Table

Members were invited to bring an item from home that made them feel happy, resulting in a fascinating array of objects, photos, and paintings, including painted stones, a picture of a beloved cat, a watch, and even a hand-crafted bear with his passport peeking out of his pocket. These personal treasures sparked joy and meaningful conversations, highlighting our group's unique stories and connections.

Special Thanks

We were delighted to have representatives attend from the SE and National Boards, and also our Interim CEO, Annabel O’Keeffe. A special mention goes to John O'Donnell, Chair of the Grow Board of Trustees, who travelled from Donegal to deliver a warm and heartfelt talk on Saturday morning, setting a reflective tone. We were fortunate to have Gerry Farrell attend from Dublin, and he brought not only his singing voice but various musical instruments for Friday night’s entertainment.

Friday Night

The weekend began with a table quiz that promoted engagement and teamwork and had us raking our brains for answers! The mix of competitive spirit and laughter demonstrated the intelligence and humour within our SE community. Meeting new people and thinking of answers under pressure was challenging, but everyone participated enthusiastically. Everyone was challenged in some way, not only on Friday but throughout the weekend, as we kept in mind that there’s no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.

Engaging Workshops

Workshops catered to our varying interests, with the goal of promoting personal growth and development. Participants could also choose to rest or enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Mount St. Anne’s, located beside a forest and working farm.

Dr. Mike Watts led an insightful session on Grow’s foundations on Saturday morning. Gertrude provided an educational and practical workshop on boundaries and we’ll be talking about cows for quite some time!

An art workshop with Emma Phillips unleashed the creative talents of many, with hopes that everyone who created a painting will frame and hang it as a reminder of the weekend.

Sinéad’s Tai Chi workshop nurtured internal and external balance in a fun manner.

Sé's writing workshop began with lively warm-up exercises with arms and legs being exercised and filling the room with energy.

Felicia led a mindful and meditative relaxation session, leaving participants feeling wonderfully grounded.

Musical Evenings

Not only are Grow members sensitive, but they’re also creative and musical, as was evident by the musicians and singers who showcased their talents on Friday night. Gerry's unique ukulele, Mike's tin whistle, Pat’s fake fiddle (!), and spontaneous member contributions highlighted the impressive talents within our SE community. Saturday night featured a performance by Ned, whose captivating singing spanned various musical genres. His gorgeous voice and guitar playing had us all singing along, clapping, and tapping our feet. His voice is beautiful, and his guitar-playing is ideal for any social gathering – bookings welcome and Mary Purcell is now his agent!

Sunday’s Focus on Leadership

Sunday’s focus shifted towards leadership within Grow and Treasa led a thought-provoking workshop encouraging members to explore how they can contribute to Grow activities, such as volunteering or fundraising.

Testimonies of Hope and Recovery
The true success of the weekend was evident in the heartfelt testimonies shared by members Louise, Caroline, and Catherine. Their stories underscored Grow’s profound impact on recovery from mental health challenges and the program’s ability to cultivate hope. Each testimony echoed the weekend’s theme of genuine, heartfelt connections. Their stories provided demonstrated that recovery is possible and that together, in our Grow groups, we can achieve more than individuals can alone.

As the weekend drew to a close, there was a collective feeling of unity. The SE regional weekend celebrated the resilience of Grow members and reinforced the bonds that make us stronger together. Leaving felt like departing a holiday destination, with hope for future breaks away and fun times ahead. We all look forward to more Grow events filled with laughter, learning, and lasting connections.
Left: Grow Area Coordinator in the Southeast and Online, Felicia, Jimmy from the Ramsgrange Grow Group, Fiona Grow Southeast Administrator and, Caroline, Grow Area Coordinator and Head of Digital Services. Right: A shot from inside the beautiful Mount St. Anne's Retreat Centre.

By Treasa Twomey, Grow Area Coordinator, Southeastern Region

Fourteen Growers have just completed the Online Leadership Course. The workshops were powerful,
and engaging. We were blown away with both the sharing of/ and hunger for knowledge within this cohort.
The most positive aspect for me personally was the number of younger members who signed up and graduated from the course.  Many thanks to Annabel,  and Amanda for their time and effort in assisting me with the course. A special thanks to Mary Walsh, who was always available as a sounding board for me when I hit roadblocks.

The Grow Leadership Course is an integral part of the Grow journey of recovery and available to anyone attending a Grow Group. Reach out to your Area Coordinator to learn more about enrolling.

The focus of the course is on Personal Growth and Recovery through Leadership which will delve into the concept of leadership within the Grow Support Groups and the different ways in which all Grow members are invited to contribute to leadership within their own group.

We say in Grow Mental Health that “mental health can’t be taught, it has to be learned together”. This is a journey of self-discovery through community.

This Leadership course will teach you a lot about Grow but more importantly a lot about yourself and the unique leadership qualities that you have to offer. As you develop your own leadership, you will also experience and appreciate others as an important part of the community into which you become more deeply involved.

By the end of this course, we hope you will feel confident to participate in leadership meetings, local and regional training courses, workshops and all other growth opportunities that Grow has to offer.

Congrats again to each and every one of the participants who made the experience so interesting.


What brings you joy? What gets in the way of your joy? Why is joy important in the Grow Program of Hope and Recovery? We talk about all this and more on our May Grow Mental Health Podcast. Jenny is joined by Eanna and Caitriona, both members of Grow Groups for over 3 years, to talk about all things joy, fuzziness, and laughter.

Listen to them share their stories and their pathways to JOY here: https://grow.ie/grow-mental-health-podcast-joy/

By Collette Flannery, Grow Interim Head of National Programs

 I am honoured to be announcing the forth coming retirement of Ms. Trish Williams (pictured right with members of the Arklow Grow Group during the 2023 YELLOWWALK).

A persons retirement represents a big accomplishment in life, the end of an era in their professional life and a fabulous new beginning in their  personal life. It is indeed an occasion that merits acclaim and celebration. 
Trish finished up on June 7th 2024, after being with Grow for over 2 years as Area Co-Ordinator for South Dublin and Wicklow. 
Here is what her colleagues had to say about Trish upon hearing the news:

Trish you are a dedicated and much admired and respected Area Co-Ordinator.  You are amazing with your members and are considered an absolute lady throughout the groups. We are all going to miss you very much, but are also so excited for this new phase in your future.
You have told me yourself of your love for Grow and your groups, and I can only imagine the positive impact you have had on your members. 

You grew with this role and mentioned that you even found yourself confident enough to do things you never imagined doing before, such as standing up in front of groups and giving talks in St. John of Gods. Well done!  I know that you intend to keep in touch and still be a member of Grow. 
Trish we wish you the absolute best of luck in your future and thank you very much for all dedication and positivity you brought to Grow.

In response, Trish noted:  I feel so privileged to have been given the opportunity to work for Grow.  It has been an amazing, insightful journey, full of professional and personal growth .  I will always be grateful for having the courage to go for the job. 
Thank you to all the wonderful staff of Grow, who have helped me along the way. And most especially,of course, to all the members, without whom, there would be no Grow.  They have inspired, challenged and strengthened me on so many levels.  And I look forward to many more years in Grow as an active member in this wonderful program. 
So, I wish you all well on your onward journey and look forward to seeing you at Regional or National weekends.  

Best of luck with your new chapter, Trish!

A special thanks to Online Grow Member Sarah who took these unbelievable photos of the Northern Lights over Horn Head in Donegal. 

By Assumpta Lyons, Grow Area Coordinator in the Midlands

Longford Community Education Program took place once again in the Longford Arms Hotel starting on Wednesday 8th May and continued for four consecutive Wednesday evenings starting at 7.30 until 9.30pm.

This year surpassed all attendance records for this area, which gave us a great start and motivation for the following three weeks. Attendance remained high for the three subsequent talks and comments on our feedback forms were quite positive. We are confident that this program was well worth hosting once again in County Longford.

The speakers on the first evening were Grow Area Coordinator and Psychotherapist Caroline Crotty along with John Lonergan, former Governor of Mountjoy Prison and author. Caroline and John spoke about 'how to live a happy and content life'. The evening was full of positivity, laughter, tips and a general air of us all living our contented life. The perfect start to any course.

Week 2: Grow welcomed Counsellor/Psychotherapist Brian Walshe. Brian runs his own clinic, Midland Counselling in Athlone, and his evening was a discussion about understanding depression. Again, an insightful evening and very interactive which went down well with the participants.

Week 3: Westmeath /Longford Suicide Resource Officer Patrick Jones was accompanied by Bernie Carroll, Suicide Liaison Officer with Pieta House. Patrick and Bernie’s talk was titled 'Let’s Talk About Suicide' and they complimented each other perfectly, delivering a very good talk. They responding to a number of serious questions from our audience which resulted in a good, open, and frank discussion.

Week 4: our final evening welcomed Cathriona Hodgins, Nutritionists and Dietician to Longford who taught us to 'Boost Your Mood with Brain Foods'. This was a very popular topic with our attendees and Cathriona demonstrated to all of us how our balanced diet plays such a major part in not only looking out for our physical health but our mental health wellbeing too. It was a great conclusion to a very informative, well attended four week program and again provided the audience with a lot of food for thought.

Thanks to all who worked tireless to bring this Community Education Program to Longford, to our speakers, and to those who came along to make the events so suggessful.


Left: Bernie Carroll Suicide lLaison Officer with Pieta House, Grow Area Coordinator Assumpta Lyons, and Westmeath /Longford Suicide Resource Officer Patrick Jones. Right: Assumpta and Brian Walshe, MIACP.

Tuam 'HELLO How Are You?' Mental Health Awareness Day
15th May, Tuam, Co Galway
By Alan Keaveney, Grow Area Coordinator in Galway

The Mental Health Ireland HELLO, How Are You? campaign aims to tackle the lack of connection or belonging that people experience by inspiring individuals to ask how others are feeling.
This year Tuam Mental Health Association held a special event celebrating the essence of this aim. There were stands there hosted by many organisations such as Alone, Bru Bhride Traveller Support Group, Shine, Tuam Active Retirement Association, An Garda Siochana, as well as a Grow Mental Health stand hosted by Galway Area Coordinator Alan Keaveney.
Grace Glennon of Tuam Mental Health Association (pictured left with Alan) was the primary organiser and Alan also helped with the organisation of the event, in particular the music acts. Galway Grower Denis (pictured left) performed his popular single “Open Doors”.
There is healthy attendance at the Tuam Grow group and Alan had more enquiries on the day and looks forward to seeing them at a future meeting.

Stress & Anxiety Workplace Talk
16th May Laoise, Co Laoise
By Michelle McCormick, Grow Area Coordinator in the Midlands

Area Coordinator Michelle McCormick from the Midlands Region delivered a workplace presentation on "Managing Stress & Anxiety” to staff in Laois Integration team who support new individuals entering the country. The presentation was very well received with lots of interaction and a questions and answer session at the end. It was wonderful to see staff so relaxed and discussing the presentation after over a tea break. We look forward to dropping in again in the future.

June 5th - World Environment Day
June 11th - Global Wellness Day
June 16th -  Bloomsday
June 16th - Father's Day
June 20th - 23rd - Grow GO YELLOW! Fundraiser

June 20th - World Refugee Day
June 21st - Summer Solstice in the Northern hemisphere

Open to all staff members. (Attendance to be on 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]

Meetings take place online on Tuesdays between 10:30 AM and 12 PM. Click here for more details.

Our Caring and Sharing Online Coffee Morning is open to anyone in the Grow Community and meets online on the LAST 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?
Stay up to date with Grow 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
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