GROW is a national community based 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 indeed, to prevent such happening.
GROW, founded in Australia in 1957 by former mental sufferers, has a national network of over 130 groups in Ireland. It's principal strength is the support members give each other from their own experience in matters to do with mental health.
Since coming to Ireland in 1969, GROW has established:
Con Keogh was born on the 13th of July 1921 in Victoria, Australia. At the age of 18 he enterted the Springwood Seminary and was ordained in Rome. He received a Doctorate of Philosophy at the University of Louvain, Belgium.
His mental breakdown came in 1954 and he was certified insane, hospitalised for several months and incapacitated for work as a priest for almost a year. During his hospitalisation, he endured regular shock treatment with no anaesthesia, which he said left him
'shattered, unable to remember, and still very disturbed, stunned and mortally afraid'.
Following his discharge from hospital, he sought help and rehabilitation, but at that time there was incredible stigma around mental illness and community services that focused on recovery from mental illness were non-existent.
Con found help by attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, though not an alcoholic himself. Along with a small number of others whom he met at these meetings, the idea was born of a special group to work specifically on problems related to recover from mental illness. He was thus a member of the first GROW group which met at Hurstville, Sydney, on April 27 1957.
The wisdom they gained in helping each other to overcome life's challenges and recover from mental illness was carefully recorded and forms the basis of the unique GROW program. The model they developed was exceptionally innovative, supporting personal power, control and self-determination of people with a mental illness at a time when the notion of recovery from mental illness was shunned.
GROW came to Ireland in 1969 through Sean O Hanlon a priest who had returned from Missionary work in Tasmania and began in the small parish of Athea, Co. Limerick. Today GROW has over 130 community groups that meet each week in Ireland.
Those who donate to GROW can be assured that their donation will be directed to one of the following core areas of GROWs' service:-
Recovery, Support and Education
GROW's Recovery Programme supports members as they progress on their journey of recovery. This is achieved through weekly community groups which are free of charge.
GROW currently provides Community Educational and Workplace Programmes throughout each region aimed at educating and reducing the stigma associated with mental health. This is provided free of charge within the community.
Through the development of Young Adult Groups GROW aims to support young adults who may present with emotional problems, peer isolation, low self esteem, trouble with college, poor coping skills and issues with bullying, self harm or other difficulties.
Please see our website www.grow.ie for further information on our services and ICTR (Irish Charities Tax Research) Fundraising Guidelines.