May 2024 Newsletter – Joy

May 2024 Newsletter:
Oh, JOY!
This month we are exploring all things joyful at Grow Mental Health! What brings you joy? Is it seeing the sun burst through the clouds or a beloved pet? Is it the grin of a child or listening to your favourite song? Whatever it is, be sure to notice, find, and share joyful moments throughout the month. Our May newsletter is filled with JOY.  You'll also find lots of Grow news and updates. Enjoy! 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.

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September 20th - 22nd, 2024

Mark your diaries! We will once again gather in the beautiful Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise for our Grow Members National Weekend between Friday, September 20th and Sunday September 22nd, 2024. The weekend will commence from 3 om with hotel booking in and Grow registration. The Grow AGM begins at 5 pm and the weekend will continue with social activities, informative talks, workshops, personal stories, and much more. The full agenda and a link to the booking system will be available on June 18th. Your area coordinator is available to help with any queries relating to the online booking system or payment. The Grow Board of Trustees have agreed to a €50 subsidy per person per night stay this year. We hope to see many of you there for an enjoyable and informative weekend.
By Jonathan, Grow Group Member, Eastern Region

I have had a good think.
I am not writing anything new here. You have heard it before. I am writing a gentle reminder because in process of our busy lives we forget.
We now know that happiness is not in the big promotion or winning the lotto though they will please you immensely for a month or two. Then it’s back to normal. Or you feel worse. You got the object of your desire, then what? The next desire? Buying the latest fashionable shoes will give you a pep, nothing wrong in that, but as many have realised, materialism does not fulfill. And even pursing happiness too directly can leave you miserable.

People find happiness in meaningful work, passions (if you are lucky to have one), relationships, a spiritual life (if it’s in your makeup) and acts of altruism. However, what I would like to write briefly about is slowing down, travelling light, and appreciating the small and every day.

A month ago, I watched a YouTube documentary on an English sailor in the 1700’s that survived a shipwreck and was marooned on a remote island in the Pacific ocean a few hundred miles off the coast of Chile. He lived alone for 9 years until he was “recused”. He survived by fishing, gathering, and hunting pigs and goats that previous sailors had released onto the island. He had a simple life with practically no processions and no money at all. After his return to the world being a resourceful man, he became very wealthy and famous. And he became miserable. He recalled the happiest, most joyful time was on the island where he did not have a penny to his name. He was not the first or last to realise that the lures of the world do not fulfill. And as the old saying goes, the best things in life are free.

However, in our modern world we can be more connected with our technology but we are disconnected from ourselves, from nature and being physically with a friend. Our life is getting faster and faster. There are more and more responsibilities. But to enjoy the best things you have to slow down and even stop, otherwise they will be overlooked. We are so used to being busy that our minds are busy, full of thoughts. For many it’s only at the very end of the day with a glass of wine do they come to rest.

So please slow down to a natural pace. Nature does not hurry however she accomplishes all (Lao Tzu). Have an uninterrupted cup of tea in peace. When walking to the shops slow right down and appreciate the flowers in the gardens and the birds in the trees. Stop and chat with neighbours. Make time to slowly read a book. Get into nature, not for ten minutes, (though if that is all the time you have it’s still wonderful), but linger for half a day. Turn off the phone for two hours. Stop it taking over completely. Have time for family and friends.
As Pascal said, the problems of the world could be solved by sitting quietly in a room alone for twenty minutes. You get the picture. It’s sense but we need to be reminded.
Are you ready to create a sea of yellow across Ireland? With a month and half to go until our GO YELLOW 4-day fundraising event, our community is getting creative with their fundraising ideas. Here are just a few:

A meditation and wellness session in the Midwest
A swim and coffee morning in Dublin
A treasure hunt in Limerick for the whole family
Hikes all around Ireland
A Yellow Picnic in Cork

Visit our GO YELLOW homepage to learn more and to register your fundraising event.

Each event will raise money to help us achieve our vision of an Ireland where no one needs to navigate mental health challenges or life’s struggles alone.

Spotlight fundraiser:
Weltec Engineering based in Waterford is making every moment of the summer solstice count and
 has assembled a Squad for the Mondello24 Cycle Challenge 🚴‍♂️ on 22/23 June to raise funds for Grow Mental Health.

Each of the eight team members on the #weltecsquad will take turns in the saddle for thrilling 30-minute slots throughout the epic 24-hour ride. To date, they have raised over €2,000 for Grow. Click here to support their epic ride and fundraising efforts.


By John, Grow Group Member, Northwest Region

Joy and Happiness are often confused as being the same and people will use them interchangeably. Happiness refers to those pleasurable feelings and the emotions that typically bring us a sense of excitement in what we experience. Joy on the other hand, is a more long-lasting state of being with a greater sense of contentment with life. 

Joy is a state of mind that is derived from our own sense of wellbeing and can be found even through challenging times. Finding Joy might sound difficult if you have been hurt by life. Sadness is an obstacle to Joy that we all experience. 

“I will go by what I know and not by how I feel”.  (Five Determinations, The Grow Program Book page 24. )

By applying this philosophy to our lives, we are more open to Joy because Joy, like love, is a choice to be made. Joy is not just a feeling that happens to us. You must let joy into your life, otherwise lack of joy will add to becoming anxious, and depressed. It is important for our own wellbeing that we remain open to letting Joy into our lives whenever we can, be it through friends and family, sport, and social activities, singing, or walks in nature. It is important that we appreciate that Joy is not simply a feeling that happens to us. Joy needs to be renewed within us. Unlike happiness, which people pursue, we do have to be purposely open to choose Joy. 


By Lucy, Grow Group Member, Online

Goshie was born on the kitchen sofa at 11.45pm on the 21st May 2009. His 3 other siblings followed on the 22nd - that makes him 76 years old in human years. He is a moggie but in his head he is a King. He is obsessed with prawns, ham, turkey and most of all creme fraiche. When my mam cooks roast chicken he jumps up on the side of the sofa and gazes into the side of her face while meowing loudly at her to “Hurry up and get the chicken!”. He has a serious heart condition called HCM (HypertrophicCardioMyopathy) which causes the walls of the heart to thicken so that less blood is circulated around his body. Because of this he has to take medication twice a day which makes him extremely angry and I get the cross-looking eyes for a good 5 minutes after giving them to him.

Goshie is extremely fluffy and has fur like a bunny rabbit. He loves to be cuddled and his fur is so warm and soft that when I cuddle him I immediately fall asleep. He is such a loving cat and very loyal and will follow me from room to room if I get up and move. He loves fleece blankets and anytime I crochet a new blanket he has to try it out immediately - he will walk into the middle of the blanket and purr so loudly that he sounds like a lawnmower in the distance! He has been a constant presence of peace and calm for me during some exceptionally tough times. I could always pick him up and cuddle him and rely on him to give me a nose boop which is one of his ways of saying “Hello, I missed you!”. 

He got very unwell in 2021 with his heart disease and I thought I was going to lose him but he is a strong cat and he pulled through. As I am writing this he is fast asleep on his favourite fleece blanket with one arm and paw outstretched - it is very important to relax! Having him as my unofficial emotional support animal is one of the best gifts life has given me. I can talk to him and he talks back to me and he always makes sure to be there for me during the tough times by gazing into my eyes with his soft cute eyes and big loving heart.


Its such a wonderful time of year in Ireland. The days are brighter. The flowers start to bloom. Birdsong can be heard all around us (even in this podcast!) and hope seems to bubble up. In this episode of the Grow Mental Health Podcast, Jenny sits down with Paul and Lucy to talk about hope. We reveal where we find hope for ourselves, the role hope plays in recovery and wellness, and all of the ways the Grow Groups and Program are brimming with hope if you know where to look.

Paul has been a Grow Group Member for years and a Grow Area Coordinator in the Northwestern Region for five years. Lucy joined Grow Online in 2018 and is part of the Grow Mental Health Content Creation Team.

Listen to them share their stories and their ideas about hope here:


By Michelle McCormick, Grow Area Coordinator in the Midlands

On April 11th in Mountmellick development Centre Co Laois, Grow Area Coordinator Michelle McCormick organised an open/information day for Grow Mental Health.

Many locals attended including Minister Sean Fleming and Fiona Dunne, who is a representative of Minister Pippa Hackett. The local GAA showed their support too. Our very own Grow Interim CEO Annabel O’Keeffe opened the day with a wonderful speech welcoming all and celebrating Co.Laois.

This was followed by a brief presentation by Grow Area Coordinators Michelle McCormick and Assumpta Lyons explaining what Grow is and the services we provide. After, we tucked into the refreshments, mingled, and asked questions.

In total, five Gardai including Inspector Joseph Culliton attended and he was very interested in the local supports provided in Co. Laois including- Portarlington, (covered by Assumpta) Portlaoise, and Mountmellick (covered by Michelle McCormick). As a result Michelle has been invited to deliver four talks to local Gardai outlining Grow's services and program of hope and recovery. The GAA have expresses interest in the “Stress and Anxiety Management” talk as well. It is through this kind of event that word is spreading about the important work we do in communities all over Ireland. This open day resulted in three new members so far for Mountmellick as well as enquiries about the Portlaoise and Portarlington groups. A wonderful day was had by all. Thank you to who made it happen!
Pictured here at the Grow Mental Health Open Day in Mountmellick: (Back Row L to R) Natasha O'Neil, Paula Lynch, PJ Delaney, Grow Interim CEO Annabel O'Keeffe, Sergeant Lucy McLoughin, Grow Area Coordinator Assumpta Lyons, Garda Donal Bigly, Fiona Dunne and Grow Area Coordinator Michelle McCormick  (Seated L to R) Minister Sean Fleming and Norah Conroh. Credit Denis Byrne Photography
With Thanks in Tullamore
Grow Mental Health was chosen from 106 applications to receive a donation form the Tullamore Credit Union in the amount of €550. Patricia Steinegger, Grow Administrator for the Eastern, Western, and Midlands regions was on hand at the ceremony on April 17th to receive the cheque. Patricia made the application on behalf of Grow and the funds were put towards a members Christmas Lunch for the Midlands Region. Thank you to the Credit Union and to Patricia for her tireless work in the regions on behalf of Grow.
Spreading the Word in Kildare
On April 25th, Amanda Dempsey, Grow Area Coordinator in the Eastern Region hosted a Grow Mental Health Promotional Table at the North Kildare Community Information Day in Kilcock. There were approximately 25 exhibitors represented in the Kilcock GAA Centre and Amanda had many of enquiries and interest in Grow.  Grow Administrator Patricia Steinegger was there on the day to help with the questions and getting out the information. A special thanks to both Amanda and Patricia for their wonderful work in the community.

Stress & Anxiety Workplace Talk
7th May Tullamore, Co Offaly

Area Coordinator Michelle McCormick from the Midlands Region delivered a workplace presentation on "Managing Stress & Anxiety” in Zoetis in Tullamore. Over 80 people attended, and the presentation was very well received with lots of interaction and a questions and answer session at the end. Michelle was invited by HR Manager Elizabeth Costello. Zoetis now has 3 premises in Tullamore and staff numbers have increased greatly. 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.
May 1st - Global Love Day
May 16th - International Day of Light
May 21st -  International tea Day
May 21st - World Day for Cultural Diversity

May 24th - World Schizophrenia Day

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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