November 2023 Newsletter – Inner Peace

November Newsletter:
A Review of a Wonderful Mental Health Month for Grow Mental Health
October was busy! We had our Annual Grow Mental Health Grower gathering. It was World Mental Health Month. The Grow community was out in force to talk about our program of peer-supported hope and recovery (read on!). We recorded our podcast in front of a live audience for the first time.

The world around us seemed to echo the business of life at home. At times, October felt like a roller coaster. For that reason, we chose to focus on Inner Peace for November. What happens when we lose connection with our peace of mind? What are some ways that we, as individuals, find and keep our inner peace? We would love you hear from you.
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By Jonathan, Grow Member, Eastern Region

Each person finds peace in their own way as they journey through this challenging world.  It is said to be an “inside job”. True peace is not dependent on outside factors.

“Growing is finding and keeping your truest self.”  Sometimes we think our thinking mind is who we are.  We identify with our thoughts. Believe our thoughts, without question. The thinking mind is always in the past or the future, hence, it can turn up sadness, anger, and fear.

The thinking mind with its cognitive powers is a great tool.  But one should be careful and ensure you are its master.  To be able to put the mind and its thinking to rest when not needed is a wonderful skill. When we can’t stop thinking we suffer.  We can still our complex minds (through meditation, yoga, sport, or nature) and find peace.  We find simplicity.  We are simply pure awareness in the here and now. Peace is our true self, our true nature. 

Pain and suffering are unavoidable in this life but finding meaning in life anchors us in strength and peace. It may take a lot of hardship before one realises what Life calling us to rise and grow.  Once realised, inner peace remains with you. In the words of Nietzsche, “he who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”  Those words indicate the peace and strength in finding meaning.

Having faith or trust in life or a higher power gives one a measure of peace.  That life is going towards a higher purpose that is beyond our comprehension for now.  Julian of Norwich, the Christian Mystic said, “All is well, all is well, and all manner of things will be well.”  And when life is hard to shoulder, we can surrender the person or situation up. I am not alone in the universe.

In Grow Mental Health we use a piece of the Grow Program called The Four Stabilising Questions or Crisis Management. It consists of 4 questions that we ask ourselves to steady our thinking. 

“Be definite-what exactly is troubling you? 
Be rational-is it certain, probable, or only possible? 
Be wise-how important is it? 
Be practical-what shall I do about it.”  

Working through these questions will settle our minds.  We know what is troubling us.  That alone brings some measure of peace.  And when we realise what needs to be done, the fear diminishes, and when we take that action, after, peace descends.

€7,000 Raised During Mental Health Week

Our wonderful friends The RUGS celebrated their 10th Birthday during Mental Health Week with a fabulous night of Ukulele performances.

Growers from all over Ireland joined the RUGS in Rody Borland’s in Rathmines as they lifted the roof and raised over €7,000 for Grow Mental Health.

As a community group themselves, the RUGS understand the power of the connection created when people come together to make music and sing.

We couldn’t have imagined a more positive mental health tonic than singing along with The RUGS! Thank you for marking Mental Health Week 2023 with us.

We are hoping The RUGS consider making this a yearly event as we can’t possibly wait another 10 years.

By Rosemary, Grow Member

Spreading the notion of Peace in our lives and in our day is important.
My practices around peace relate to music and silence.

When I have had a busy wind-up type of day, I use either music or silence to bring peace to my mind.

I listen to LyricFM on my drive home, rather than the 'Chat Noise' shows that rarely have anything calming or peaceful to contribute in sound.
At home, I have a classical music CD that I bought years ago in Boston which has lovely associations from the past and restores peace in my soul. I love and listen on YouTube to Enya’s Watermark album.
There are times when I know that I just need some silence, as I talk and communicate with many people throughout the week. It is not easy to free up time or money, but it is always possible to take 5min, no noise, sitting in silence, breathing through my nose. I need calm, and when I don’t spot that I need it, things can spiral.

Going to the Grow meeting, with the great people that I have met there, has helped me improve from week to week. Practicing peace, for me, is the key to keeping balance in my life.
By John Madden, Grow Area Coordinator, Midlands Region
Alarm goes off. Quickly hit snooze. Alarm goes off again. Pick up the phone. Unlock. Scroll.

Floods hit Cork; Young man killed in car crash; Gaza bombarded overnight; Ukraine and Russia in Turmoil; Local Girl Missing; Storm Jenny on the way.

That’s a lot of negativity before I’ve even had my Cornflakes but this is every day for many of us. It would be easy to stay in bed for a few more minutes but we tend to go for the phone and “Doom-scroll”.
There’s rarely good news on there. Why would there be? In the media, positive news does not sell. Our voyeuristic tendencies veer towards the worst. Like the old media saying “If it bleeds, it leads”.

The world has always been a deeply dangerous place and warfare, death and destruction are ever-present. Why do things feel more intense now? The answer may very well be in your hands or in front of your eyes. The device we are using right now to read this article is likely pushing negative content on us, especially if we are using social media. Because of clever programming and manipulation, the content we are interacting with will lead to more of the same. Social media platforms use algorithms to manipulate our news feeds to keep us engaged.

As I said, warfare, death, and destruction were always there but what is different is our instant awareness of it, and more importantly our exposure to it. We heard about such matters in the abstract in the past. We saw headlines in the newspapers. The extent of the bad news came once a day at 6.01 News (don’t forget the Angelus) but even then, it was a curtailed version of the story. Now we can access the full story, a spectrum commentary on the story, graphic images and video content, and more.

So, what can we do if we are feeling overwhelmed by bad news?

Limit our screen time, including TV. We don’t need it. It’s good to be informed on current affairs, of course, but none of us really need the constant misery updates. Don’t interact with the traumatic stories. Every time we click, it is catalogued and the algorithms push more similar content our way.

Keep our social media social. Having debates with others online in open forums may give us a sense of victory at times, but because we have spent time on the topic, more of the same misery will be sent our way. The misery monster resides online: if you feed it, it will thrive. If you ignore it, it gets smaller and easier to ignore. It is not turning a blind eye. It is not ignoring the vast swathe of global issues but they are often out of our control. The question is, do we need to absorb it each time we pick up a smart device? Absolutely not. We can still have a view or stance either way. We can still be passionate about a cause and outraged by myriad global atrocities on display. We can and should discuss it without allowing it to consume us.

Everybody wants peace, both inner and global. We, as individuals can attain just one of these. Remember that.



On World Mental Health Day, the Castlerea Grow Group set up an information stand to promote Grow in lovely Castlerea town. There was great support from the local community and lots of interest in Grow. The members felt it was an opportunity for growth and informing their town about Grow's Program of Hope and Recovery.


On the 10th of October, World Mental Health Awareness Day, Grow Area Coordinator Assumpta Lyons was invited to the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Longford town to deliver a workshop on managing stress and anxiety to their volunteers and staff. This workshop was attended by 25 staff members and there was great interaction and participation. When the workshop concluded Assumpta was invited to join the nuns and staff for lunch in their beautiful convent, providing the perfect ending to the workshop. 

Pictured here is Assumpta Lyons with Lorraine, the Health and Wellbeing Officer for County Longford.

By Alan Keaveney, Grow Area Coordinator, Western Region

On Wednesday the 18th of October 2023, 15 Grow members attended the beautiful Galway Bay Hotel in Salthill for a national conference organised by the Galway Mental Health Association to celebrate 40 years of their work in improving mental health services in Galway. 

The theme of the event was “Celebrating Volunteers” so it was great to have Mary Walsh, Grow Mental Health’s National Volunteer Coordinator, there to support our Grow volunteers on the day. 

It was also a day to reward our volunteers with some lovely self-care workshops including:
Mindfulness, Music Therapy, Art Therapy, A Dip in the Atlantic, Drumming.  

Galway City Mayor Eddie Hoare and Galway County Cathaoirleach Liam Carroll opened the event. Jacinta Kitt was the keynote speaker and spoke about her work on improving mental health environments in workplaces. 

A highlight of the event was the performance of “A Helping Hand”, a song written by a number of Mental Health Ireland staff and volunteers, overseen by Ronan De Burca of Galway Music Therapy. You can watch the performance here.

To end the day our Growers had some of the delicious 40th Anniversary cake and went home reinvigorated. 

Pictured above are just some of the staff and volunteers representing Grow on the day.



In the Midwest for World Mental Health Month, we participated in many events on behalf of Grow Mental Health.

On Saturday the 14th of October in Bedford Row along with other organizations, we provided a stand and information and met numerous individuals explaining that Grow is a free, friendly community-based, peer support group for anyone living with mental health issues. We believe it was

beneficial to get awareness of Grow out to the wider community with experienced persons conveying the message.

Throughout the year, the Midwest Grow Team participates in many promotional activities and events. The aim is to increase awareness of mental health, the value of personal wellbeing, and the power of the Grow Program of hope and recovery.

Pictured above: Grow Regional Team Members Rob and John, Grow Area Coordinator in the Midwest Celia, Grow Organiser PJ, Grow Area Coordinator for Online Danielle, and Grow member Kennedy.
In addition to the myriad in-person outreach events, the Grow community took to the airwaves to let listeners know that there was a place for anyone living with mental health challenges. 

In Kilkenny, Grow Area Coordinator Liz Shortall spoke with Frank Tynan of Kilkenny Today on the importance of community mental health supports and the Grow Program. The program aired on World Mental Health Day with a full hour dedicated to minding our mental health. Click on the image below. The interview starts around the 40-minute mark.

Liz Shortall on Kilkenny Today

On the 9th of October, Area Coordinator Attracta McNeice and Grow Member Christina O'Neill joined Derek Pepper on his program Town Talk on Dundalk FM to talk about hope and how the Grow Program inspires and supports hope. Click on the image to listen back.

Attracta McNeice and Christina O'Neill on Town Talk, Dundalk


In September, Grow Regional Manager Mary Purcell was interviewed for the Morning Call program with Catherine Fogarty on Tipp Midwest Radio. Mary spoke of the growth and recovery opportunities within Grow and the power of the Grow Program in supporting that growth. Click on the image below and hear Mary's interview around the 40-minute mark.

Mary Purcell on Morning Call with Catherine Fogarty

Closer to home, we recorded our first ever LIVE Grow Mental Health Podcast at our Annual Weekend in October. Jenny, Gerry, and Liz sat down in front of an audience of over 100 people to talk about opening ourselves up to friendship. On her second Grow Podcast appearance Liz, an author and Grow Area Coordinator in the Southeast shared her story of grief, loss, and finding her way back to wellness through fellowship and creative writing. Grow regional team member Gerry shared a similar story of mental health struggles and finding friendships through Grow and music that would sustain him through the darkest times. It was an honest, moving, at times cheerful discussion, ending with questions from our live audience. This month we will go back to the quiet of a private podcast recording, but are already looking forward to the next opportunity to record live with our Grow community. Click on the image to listen now.

Grow Mental Health Live Podcast Recording

If you or anyone on your team or in your group has the opportunity to speak on behalf of Grow Mental Health in the media please reach out to us at [email protected] in advance and we will be delighted to give you pointers on the key messages and how to prepare for the interview. And if you would like to participate in the Grow Mental Health Podcast, we would love to hear from you at the same address!

There were two Grow Mental Health Community Education Programs running during World Mental Health Month. In both Portlaoise and Limerick, Author John Lonergan and Psychotherapist Caroline Crotty teamed up to launch the programs with guidance on finding contentment, even in the darkest times. Both series continued throughout the month with informative and exciting mental health insights. Thanks to our speakers, audience members, and everyone involved in these two series, getting the Grow message of support and wellbeing out on all fronts.

By Celia Brett, Grow Area Coordinator, Midwest Region
Throughout the month of October, there was a Community Education Program over four nights in Cappamore with the overall theme being “Minding Your Mental Health.” This was kindly funded by a generous donation from the Ryan Family. The first presentation was “Celebrating Life as We Make Sense of Our Losses” presented by John Lonergan (Author and Former Governor of Mountjoy Prison) and Caroline Crotty (Grow Area Coordinator and Psychotherapist). The second night was presented by Derry O`Malley (Humans Given Therapist) discussing “Sleep Well for Your Mental Health.” The third event in our series saw Rosemary Ryan (Olympian Runner/Coach) discussing “Why be Active? A Natural Boost for Our Bodies and Minds.” The presenter was Celia Brett (Grow Area Coordinator and Psychotherapist) whose talk, “From Despair to Hope- The Recovery Journey from Addiction", garnered great interest and interaction.

Between 40 and 60 people attended weekly and various other organizations from across the Midwest were also in attendance with stands and information. Annabel O`Keeffe (Interim Grow Mental Health CEO) attended the final night and thanked audience members, speakers, and organizations for attending. Annabel also thanked the Midwest Regional Team and Staff for their continuous, beneficial, and connected teamwork. The audience’s feedback was enthusiastic and indicated they would be interested in future similar events.

Left: Interim CEO, Grow Mental Health, Annabel O'Keeffe, Grow Area Coordinator Celia Brett, Grow Administrator Joan Diffley, Grow Regional Manager Mary Purcell, and Mile Clarke of Circle of Friends Cancer Support.

Right: Grow Mental Health Area Coordinator Celia Brett and Human Givens Therapist Derry O'Malley.
New Grow Groups
Monaghan, Tuesdays, 7:00 - 9:00 PM, Teach na Daoine Family Resource Centre in Monaghan Town. Contact Eileen for information: 086 0436258
Athlone, Fridays, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM, Monksland Community Centre, Monksland, Athlone, N37 WK25. Contact John for information: 086 4411358
Mondays, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM, Grow Offices, 33 Henry Street, Limerick. Contact Celia for information: 086 1526966

Roscommon, Wednesdays, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM, REGARI Recovery College, Athlone Road, Ardsallagh More, Roscommon (Beside Roscommon Hospital). Contact Antoinette for information: 086 1659277
Bray, Tuesdays, 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM, Queen of Peace Parish Centre, Putland Road, Bray, Co Wicklow. Contact Trish for information: 086 0129082 
Wexford, Mondays, 7:00 - 9:00 PM, South West Wexford Family Resource Centre, Ramsgrange, Co. Wexford. Y34 DP26. Contact Felicia for information: 086 1034332
Carlow, Thursdays, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM, The Involvement Centre, St Dympna’s Complex, Carlow R93DE62. Contact Liz for information: 086 084 9171

Group Updates
The Blackpool, Cork Group is moving to Mondays and will meet once a month, on the first Monday of the month, face to face from 6.30 – 8.30 PM at The Next Step Building at 22 Sullivan’s Quay, Cork T12 PH6N. The other Mondays they will meet online at the same time. Mary Purcell 086 8231624
The Carndonagh Group is moving to The Shed, in the Old Co-op Building, Moville Road, Carndonagh Co Donegal. Contact Paul for information: 086 7702860
The Dundrum Group has moved to a new address: Burton Hall Rehab & Training Centre, Cluain Mhuire Community Mental Health Services, Arena Road, Sandyford, Dublin 10, (located behind Woodies DIY). Contact Jeff for information: 086 0787701
The Trim Group has moved to High Street, Townspark, South Trim, Co Meath Contact Trish for information: 0867706067 
Grow is currently seeking a Head of  Interim National Programmes for one year. This role forms part of the senior leadership team at Grow Mental Health. The individual will work directly with the Senior Leadership Team and other members of the Regional and National support teams to lead the work plan driven by Grow’s strategic plan and goals.

Welcome Don Hegarty, the new Administrator in the Southeast Region to the staff of Grow Mental Health. We are delighted to have you as part of the Southeast Team, Don, and look forward to working with you. A massive thanks to Aisling, Liz, and the other Administrators around the country who are “showing Don the way”

November 13th - World Kindness Day
November 16th - International Day for Tolerance
November 17th - World Philosophy Day
November 20th - World Children's Day

November 25th - International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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 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?
Stay up to date with Grow by subscribing to our social media channels at the links below.

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Information Line: 0 818 474 474
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