May 2023 Newsletter – The Power of Story

This month, we are talking about the Power of Story at Grow Mental Health. Story is an important part of our program of recovery and personal development. We share the story of our own journeys at weekly meetings and regional and national weekends. We hear someone's story and can resonate with something they've experienced. Story is a powerful and personal way of helping others and ourselves. Healing happens through the sharing and hearing of personal stories of growth and recovery. Enjoy this special edition of our newsletter and maybe you will be inspired to share your own story with us.

Sharing your personal story, Google Definition
Clearly, sharing your story has the potential to help someone else feel less alone. Our stories are powerful because they evoke compassion even among strangers. We also create opportunities to understand others better and to cultivate empathy towards them.

Personal Story Google Definition
Are stories we tell about ourselves that focus on our growth, lessons learned, and reflections on our experiences.

As always, we would love to hear from you. You can reach us on our social media platforms and by email [email protected]

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by Jonathan, Grow Member in the Eastern Region
Stories are as ancient as humanity. Another trait of humans that distinguishes us from other creatures. At the dawn of man, deep in the wilderness, we told stories on dark nights around a blazing fire. Stories of heroes, cautionary tales, and even stories told to entertain were loaded with lessons. The keen listeners were magically drawn into another’s world. Stories are the quickest and the most memorable way to the truth.

Facts do not have the richness and power of a story. There are only a handful of stories – the quest, the rebirth, tragedy, voyage and return, overcoming the monster, rags to riches, and comedy. Stories are often a mix of these basic themes. But the creative potential is infinite.

When we hear another’s life story we are captured. This is a person just like us - IS us in a way. There is something elemental in our psyche, instinctual, to listen to a story of moving through darkness to light. We are not alone; another has passed this way before. Their story is a mirror in which we see ourselves. They give us fragments of a map and highlight a few landmarks on the journey. Their story instills hope and inspires. A lesson or two is taken on board. (hopefully)

What happens when we give our story? It can be a catharsis. Setting free our story heals and we will generate empathy. Empathy connects us all. Also telling our story helps us find acceptance and an understanding of where we came from and where we are going and help us realise the life lessons we have learned. We tell our stories in love. For ourselves, for our fellow man. Our stories are an affirmation of life and a shared compassion for our human condition. The uniquely human story of Fall and Return.

Summer Solstice Edition
Hi guys my name is Wayne I'm part of the Wicklow Grow group. I've been part of the Grow group since it first came to Wicklow Town. It's been a very big part of my recovery and one of the greatest things about all groups (in case anyone is worried) is nothing is ever discussed outside of the room.


As I do a lot of walking, it's a great part of Grow. This year our group is taking it as part of our 12-step programme. As our group meets on Wednesday we are going to do our walk after the group and as everyone is aware the last 3 years have been difficult for everyone. I did the walk at first on my own then with my family and this year will be with my Grow friends which I'm looking forward to. I hope everyone gets out with their group or family and friends and enjoy a great cause, Grow Mental Health. Thanks for reading! Wayne Kavanagh

If you would like to learn more about this year's YELLOWWALK, taking place on June 21st, Please click the button below.

YELLOWWALK Info and Registration

Click on the image above to see highlights from last year's YELLOWWALK.
by Kate, Grow Member Southeastern Region

I can remember my first Grow meeting and listening to a group member tell their story. I remember picking up on two or three sentences in that story. I fully understood what was being said because I also had experienced the same feelings.

Telling my story for the first time, yes I was nervous, many parts of it were very dark and filled with despair and hurt.  I had been carrying this load around with me for years. Opening up to my group and letting it all flow out was such a relief.

I have been in Grow for nearly ten years. My stories have changed over those years because I have changed. It has not always been easy and my group has challenged me to let go of old habits and build new ones. Old habit’s kept me wrapped up in knots of negativity and self-criticism. New habits gave me tools to nurture and build a new storyline.

When I tell my story now I tell a story of my journey in Grow and who I am now:
Healed from an abusive childhood
Living with my mental health and an unpredictable mind
Not fearful of facing a new day but open to what it brings
Opportunity for new friends
Living Grow’s philosophy of life
Giving back to the next person who comes through the door

I didn’t get to this place on my own I got here with my group, my Grow family, and the stories that we have shared together over the years.


On Saturday, May 6th a fundraising concert was held for Grow in the Triskel Arts Centre in the heart of Cork City.

Eve Telford, partner of the famous folk singer Jimmy Crowley contacted Grow Southern region in early March 2020 saying that Jimmy and herself would do a fundraising concert for Grow. This concert was 3 years and 3 months in the making. Grow Southern Region had planned to stage this concert In April 2020 but unfortunately, Covid-19 reached Ireland just weeks before and all events were put on hold. Over the 3 years, Eve kept in contact with Grow and in February of this year, a date was set for the concert.

In the months leading up to the concert, Eve gathered musical friends to play with her and Jimmy, and on the night we were treated to six different acts.

Sonrai, who by day are colleagues working in the Central Statistics Office, performed 1st with a lovely mixture of traditional Irish music and song. They make very few public performances, so we are very lucky that they agreed to perform for us.

2nd to take the stage was Joyce Higgins and her band. Joyce is a Cork-based artist who writes all her own material. Joyce’s music was very atmospheric and within two songs she had the audience captivated. Striking also about Joyce’s music was the dept of meaning in her lyrics.

For the 3rd act, we had a complete change when storyteller Maria Gillean took to the stage. She had a huge stage presence capturing the audience with her fabulously green coloured dress and tunic, an outfit that would not have been out of place at King Charles's Coronation earlier that day. Maria’s storytelling took us back to an Ireland before radio, television, or electricity. Her ghost stories were haunting and you could hear a pin drop in the audience.

4th to take to the stage was Darby Crowley, brother of Jimmy Crowley. Darby Crowley writes all his own material and he is also an historian who has a huge interest in the ancient clans of Ireland. He performed a number of songs about the Murphy Clan, the O’Neill Clan, and his own clan the Crowleys. All songs referenced events 1500 years ago. Darby’s knowledge of ancient Irish history was of huge interest to the audience and drew warm applause.

5th to take to the stage were Jimmy Crowley and Eve Telford.

Jimmy Crowley was born in Douglas, County Cork into a musical family. He formed Stoker's Lodge in 1970, the other members being Mick Murphy, Christy Twomey, and Johnny "Fang" Murphy. Eoin Ó Riabhaigh joined sometime later. The band was named after the gate lodge of the Stoker estate in Cork, near Crowley's boyhood home. The band members drifted apart in the early 80s but reformed in 2014 for one time to mark the passing of Christy Twomey the previous year.

After the demise of Stoker's Lodge, Jimmy formed The Electric Band in 1982 They released a reggae version of "The Boys of Fairhill" in that year which went straight into the pop charts

Jimmy has pursued a solo career since the 1990’s touring extensively in Ireland and abroad. In 2014 Jimmy published a large volume Songs From The Beautiful City: Cork Urban Ballads with musical notation and lyrics and with related anecdotes on the facing page.

In recent years Jimmy has performed with Eve Telford and they are currently on a nationwide tour of Ireland.

Eve is a traditional singer and a folk songwriter. She sings traditional Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and English songs, with a strong focus on Irish. Her songwriting takes inspiration from the great web of folklore, the natural world, and politics,

Wrapping up the show was the Daghanham Yanks - a very lively rock/ pop band. It wasn’t long before the audience was swaying in their seats the 7-member band played feel-good music nonstop for 45 mins. The quality of their music was appreciated by everybody and all left the concert buzzing.

Sincere gratitude to all the performers for doing this fundraising concert and a big thank you to Eve Telford who kept the idea going during the Covid years and organised the concert on the night. 

Paul, Grow Board Member

There are many different views on how to define mental distress. There are also many different views on what constitutes recovery. One way to look at it is in regard to the absence or presence of personal power in one’s life.

Mental distress often consists of uncertainty, pain, loss, disconnection, and a feeling of very low personal value. Often, it consists of feeling totally powerless in the face of overwhelming thoughts, feelings & circumstances. Life can appear hopeless & meaningless. Personal power can seem non-existent.

What can be done to change this situation? How can sense be made of experiences that seem utterly senseless? At what point does a recovery story begin?

Like every story, it needs to start somewhere. The Grow Mental Health Program puts an emphasis on acceptance of current circumstances as a starting point. Grow doesn’t force meaning. It doesn’t offer quick fixes. It simply says, “accept where you are, accept yourself as a person with intrinsic personal value & and accept that you are beginning a new journey with the support of others”. Even that in itself is powerful. Without even writing a single chapter, a new story is beginning.

It is a story of connection with others, healing together in a fellowship of love & support.

Over time each Grower adds to their own recovery story. Each story may contain many ups & downs, trials & tribulations, successes & failures. The future may still appear uncertain. But throughout all this, there is one thing that is certain. Your story is valuable & unique. Accepting it has the power to change your recovery journey. Sharing it has the power to start someone else’s.

Community Education Programs
Our Community Education Programs continue across Ireland this month. With speakers like John Lonergan, Brian Cody, and our own Mike Watts, these engaging and informative talks have been quite popular so far. To learn more about what is coming up, click here.

Running for Grow
Rob Stephen has done it again! He and the Sanctuary Runners have completed another Great Limerick Run and in the process raised over €1,000 for Grow Mental Health. 

About 40 Sanctuary Runners were involved (from Limerick, Clare, Galway, Cork, and Dublin - including Sanctuary Runner founder, Graham Clifford) and they were very grateful to have the use of Grow ground floor meeting room and yard from about 9am till 3pm.

Mayor Francis Foley also came along briefly to present some medals out in the back yard. A great (and tiring) day was had by all! Thanks to Rob and the Sanctuary Runners.

New Kilkenny Office - Official Opening

On April 18th, our new Grow Mental Health Southeastern Regional Office was officially opened on Dean Street in Kilkenny. The event was attended by Grow staff members as well as many honoured guests, pictured below. We look forward to welcoming you to the new premises one day soon.
Grow Information Day
Balbriggan Grow held an information day in the local library on Thursday, May 4th.  Grow Area Coordinator Louise Carol was on hand to answer questions and distribute Grow literature in the busy library. Thanks to Mick and Hubert (pictured here) from Balbriggan Grow for great work and much-needed helping hands on the day.

Inspiring gesture!
Our brave Margaret from the North West region has been a regular member of Grow Mental Health's weekly support meetings for years. She's now taking on a new challenge to raise awareness and funds for Grow by bravely doing a charity head shave on May 29th! Let's support her and this worthy cause by donating generously. Your donation can help others improve their well-being and bring a healthier outlook back into their lives. Margaret, you're a true inspiration and we thank you for your bravery and kindness!

Click here to Donate


VHI Women's Mini Marathon
This year's event takes place in Dublin on the June Bank Holiday Weekend (June 4). For years, we have had a strong fundraising presence at the Mini Marathon (THANK YOU!) and we hope 2023 will be no different. Please consider registering here: and choosing Grow Mental Health as your fundraising partner.



Western Regional Weekend in Knock
This July 7 - 9 the Western Region will meet in Knock for a weekend themed: Balanced Living for your Mental & Emotional Health. Featuring members of Grow groups and staff plus invited keynote speakers, the weekend is sure to in educational and relaxing. To learn more, contact Alan Keaveney: [email protected].  


Tell Your Story!
Please join us for this storytelling workshop on May 29th with Grow National Volunteer Coordinator, Mary Walsh and Grow member Kate Slater.

We want to send Amie Hughes our very best wishes as she heads into her maternity leave. You will be missed, though we know you will be enjoying every minute with your little one.

Our latest podcast explores the concept of hope and how we might discover hope in our Grow Groups. Jenny chatted with Rob and Mary for this inspiring and hopeful conversation. As always, thanks for listening!

May 1 - Global Love Day
May 1 - World Laughter Day
May 16 - International Day of Light 
May 20 - World Refugee Day
May 21 - International Day
May 21 - World Day for Cultural Diversity
May 24 - World Schizophrenia 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 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 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?

Have you ever wondered what Grow is all about and how it might help you and your mental wellbeing? Why not join or next ONLINE six-week introductory program? Keep an eye on our website for the next groups starting at the end of the month. 
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