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. n the journey of life and recovery there are many different kinds of help. Working the GROW Program will help you identify what feeds your mental wellness. Each person will need to feed their mind, body and spirit in different ways. Only you will know what is helpful for you.
As an organisation we ask that you respect what others feel is attributing or has attributed to their recovery and we ask that you keep an open mind and respect what has worked, or is working, for others.
Music plays a huge part from some. For others it is exercise, diet, or routine and for many it is spiritual guidance. GROW respects that the things that bring healing can be very diverse and individual.
As GROW is operating in Ireland for over 50 years, some of the wisdoms or literature our community have found helpful may have been written some time ago and therefore clearly from a very different era. However, we believe the wisdom within and the key takeaways are just as relevant now.
If a member’s story encompasses a religious reference we ask that you respect that as part of their story and not the position of GROW as a non-denominational organisation.
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.
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.