How to Find a Support Group
Getting Yourself to a Support Group Meeting
Having identified your preferred group you now have a number of options.
Many people simply turn up at the venue on their chosen date but others need a helping hand to make that initial step.
These options can help:
What Happens at a Meeting
What is a GROW meeting?
A GROW meeting is time for you each week. Think of it as a mental health gym, learn how to find and use your own personal resources through shared experiences with others. This programme is based on lived experiences and written by ordinary people who came together to develop the GROW Program.
What can I expect attending my first meeting?
Our meetings are usually in single numbers, five to eight members is the average. On arrival you can sit in the circle of seating with members, give your first name and relax. For the first three weeks you can listen in, ask any questions you may have and see if the programme is for you. If it helps you can bring along a friend or family member for the first three weeks for support. You will be given a book (this is called the Blue Book) with the programme, a card with the structure of the meeting so you can follow the group method.
You may feel anxious about the idea of discussing your issues in a group but it is important to note that the structure of the meeting allows you the opportunity to contribute in a manner that makes you comfortable. You will be given the opportunity to take part by joining in a discussion, sharing your experiences at the appropriate time, or by offering encouragement and assistance to others.
How long is the meeting?
Meetings last about two hours. This may sound like a lot of time to spend at a meeting, however you will find that because we follow a programme and structure, time goes by quickly. We would think nothing of spending two hours at the gym throughout the week, on social media, watching TV or shopping. Investing time to care for our mental health can enrich our lives and help us grow as a person. Time for you. Time spent caring for your mental health is time well spent.
Who can join GROW?
Anyone over the age of 18 years old. Our meetings are a mix of ordinary people who are working towards improving their mental health. No referral letter needed, just come along. You alone can do it, but you cannot do it alone.
Is there a social side to GROW?
There is a social side to GROW. We have two weekends away each year, a National and Regional weekend. There is also outings throughout the year, a Christmas party and groups meet for tea/coffee during the week. As a member you are encouraged to attend if possible. Part of recovery is challenging ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone, try new things, avoid isolation and develop healthy friendships.
Why is God mentioned in the GROW Program?
You will see the word God in the GROW Program, this is a God of your understanding. Discussion of religion is strongly discouraged. What, or if, you believe in anything is totally irrelevant to the meeting. GROW does have a spiritual side to its programme, in terms of a belief in something can help improve our mental health. For example, being able to hand over what is out of our control to a higher power, the universe, a God, or whatever a person believes in. Some readings are of a spiritual nature, however you decide if you wish to read these or not.
What’s the cost to join?
GROW is free of charge.
How long can I attend GROW meetings for?
The simple answer is, as long as you need. GROW values each person’s individuality, each person who enters our meetings comes with their own story and their own mental health needs. There is no set amount of time that you should attend your GROW meetings. GROW meetings will encourage growth, challenge members towards better mental health choices while respecting each individual’s pace. Restoring our personal value, building confidence, learning new skills and developing healthy friendships takes time. GROW meetings are there for you to attend weekly throughout the year, no start or finish time applies.
Are there professionals working within the GROW groups?
GROW meetings are member-led but groups are supported by an Area Co-ordinator. He/she will call to the group once or twice a month (depending on the group’s needs) some of the Area Co-ordinators’ duties include the following – promotion of the group, ensuring safety within meetings, programme training, bringing along literature, making announcements that come from the wider GROW Community, encouraging leadership within the group and connecting with members as an ordinary person who is using the GROW Program in their own daily life. Area Co-ordinators are staff members of GROW and carry out their duties in a professional manner, however they are not joining the meetings as a professional, but as an equal who will at times share some of their own lived experiences. The Area Co-ordinator will work with a number of groups in their region. No one-to-one meetings with Area Co-ordinators take place. Members are encouraged to bring their problems to the group.