Research conducted by Trinity College Dublin in 2017 examined the ‘transformative power’ of GROW’s peer-support programme in assisting recovery from mental illness. The research found that peer and community support, as well as everyday social interactions, play a vital role in mental health recovery.
An analysis of recovery outcomes and duration of GROW membership was completed for the 2017 annual report.
This survey highlighted the fact that, compared to GROWers who had been attending GROW for a shorter period of time (defined as less than one year and 1-5 years), those who had been engaging for 6 years or more were:
less likely to say they were 'bothered' by their symptoms
more likely to be coping well with their mental and emotional well-being
less likely to have had a relapse in the last year
more likely to participate in community activities regularly
more likely to achieve a personal goal
have a positive effect on employment
more likely to have a positive sense of their self-esteem
more likely to feel 'very optimistic' about the future
Unlikely to require hospitalisation for mental health reasons
More likely to take part in physical exercise
Respondents were asked to indicate if any particular factors contributed to their mental health need. This information gives a better understanding of the life events that may have a negative impact on mental health, as experienced by those who took part in the survey.
These results are similar to the findings of the latest GROW in Ireland Recovery Outcomes National Report. It found that over half of those who attend GROW meetings rated meeting other people and breaking isolation as the largest benefit of GROW.
This was closely followed by the fact that GROW offers free weekly meetings (54 per cent of respondents) and provides a structured mental health programme (52 per cent of those surveyed).
One-fifth of respondents said the support they received from GROW had helped them to deal with workplace issues, including a change of job/career. Additionally, more than half of respondents said they had a personal goal and had now either achieved it or were close to achieving it.
Chart 24 shows respondents’ feelings about the future after attending GROW Support Group Meetings. 51% said they often felt optimistic or were very optimistic about the future.
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