Pictured Above: Richard Lynch with Rob Stephen, regional chairperson, and James Quilligan, regional manager of GROW. Picture by: Dolf Patijn.
GROW is a Mental Health Organisation which helps people who have suffered, or are suffering, from mental health problems. Members are helped to recover from all forms of mental breakdown, or to prevent such happening. Its principal strength is the support members give each other from their own experience in matters to do with mental health.
GROW was founded in Australia in 1957 by former mental health sufferers. It first came to Ireland, to Athea, Co. Limerick in 1969, but did not become well established in Limerick City until the 1980s. After many years of renting space, GROW was finally able to move into a permanent home at 33 Henry Street in 2012, thanks to the generosity of JP & Noreen McManus. GROW has a national network of over 130 Groups in Ireland. GROW Ireland is grant aided by all of the Health Boards and by the Department of Health and Children.
GROW’s mission is to nurture mental health, personal growth, prevention and full recovery from all kinds of mental illness. GROW achieves this by its unique 12 step program of recovery, and a core component of this is the weekly peer support meetings. These structured meetings are free and open to anyone over 18. Currently there are 6 meetings per week in the Limerick office and about 20 overall in the region (Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary).
Each group (5-15 people) meets once a week for about 2 hours, and newcomers are always welcome. The groups are run by the members of the group, on a rotational basis, and supported by frequent area co-ordinator (trained staff) visits. Meetings are free, anonymous, non-denominational and follow a structured agenda which allows each person the opportunity to share their problems in a safe environment. Each person leaves the meeting with an appropriate piece of the program to read or work on and a small task, set by the group, which they report back on the following week. This enables the person to slowly tackle life’s challenges and gradually improve their mental health and their own coping resources. One of the reasons why GROW works for so many people is that the program recognises the huge mental health benefit of friendship, affirmation and shared experiences which naturally arise out of this unique group structure. GROW groups also offer people the opportunity to break the cycle of isolation which can accompany mental health problems. Find more information on GROW meetings in the Mid-West region here.
You can contact the Limerick Office at 33 Henry Street at 061-318813, or e-mail them at [email protected].
For more information on GROW, check out their Irish website here.
If you would like to talk to somebody or find out information on your nearest group, you can call the national infoline at 1890-474-474.