GROW is urging Donegal people to wear a green ribbon, start talking about mental health and to seek support if they are struggling with any aspect of their mental health and wellbeing.
GROW, which holds free weekly mental health support meetings across the county, is among the partner organisations of the Green Ribbon campaign. The month-long campaign is aimed at promoting open conversation of mental health and challenging the stigma of mental health problems.
One Donegal woman, ‘Mary,’ who wishes not be named, has highlighted the importance of seeking support and reaching out to others. Mary has been attending GROW for the past five years.
“When I first joined a GROW support group, I was in a very sad place and struggling to remain in an abusive marriage. My confidence and self-esteem were at an all-time low. The main problem was that I didn’t know why I was feeling like that, as I thought it was 'normal' to work hard and be abused verbally for my efforts.
“When I came back to the GROW support group the following week, the main reason was because the people in the group were so friendly, warm and welcoming. There was a good structure to the GROW support meeting which I enjoyed, as it was also about learning about mental health and mental recovery,” she said.
GROW groups follow a 12-step mental health recovery programme and focus on practical tasks and mutual support.
“I kept coming back as I had made a commitment to the group that I would return and a commitment to myself that I could unlearn some habits and attitudes and get happier. I have had support from the group in solving day-to-day tasks such as getting to bed early and setting healthy boundaries,” Mary adds.
GROW is Ireland's largest community-based mental health organisation and is aimed at promoting positive mental health and recovery. Key to mental wellbeing is social connection and breaking isolation.
“The social aspect of GROW was great for me, meeting other friendly group members who are understanding and don’t judge you. Before I came to GROW, I was stuck in my comfort zone which was a painful and unhappy place. I have since grown from a fearful, anxious, shy person to a contented, friendly and life-loving person, which has also had a positive effect on my family and other relationships,” she said.
GROW holds 120 peer support group meetings in communities across Ireland each week including Dungloe, Letterkenny, Buncrana, Stranorlar, Donegal town, Carndonagh and Killybegs. GROW meetings are free to attend and open to those aged over 18. For more details on GROW meetings see: www.grow.ie
You can pick up your free Green Ribbon at Irish Rail stations, Citizens Information Centres or at the GROW office in Pearse Road, Letterkenny.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.