Grow helping break down the stigma surrounding mental health


LIMERICK has all the services to combat ill mental health, but people are not yet completely aware of the facilities available. That’s the view of  GROW mid-west regional manager James Quilligan.

He said that people are talking about the issue of mental health more than they used to but are still afraid to come out and say that they do not feel well mentally.


“There is just a feeling that you can be a bit of a failure if you say something like that and people might look at you a little bit funnily,” Mr Quilligan added.

He said that support organisations such as GROW are important in this regard because they provide a safe, confidential space for people to express themselves.

“It is about getting people in the door and to show them that it is normal to come in here and get a little bit of support and then go back out and feel a little bit better from it,” Mr Quilligan added.

GROW Local Area Coordinator Mary Purcell said that the organisation operates by organising small support groups for people with similar experiences.

These structured support groups aim to allow people to share their own stories, receive feedback and assign tasks to overcome difficulties.

They utilise a 12-step programme with structured agendas that focuses mainly on recovery and working on mental health.

Ms Purcell said building confidence is a big part of the process to enable someone with mental health issues to start recovery.

“When people become unwell they lose a lot – they might lose their job, their relationship, their identity and they lose their confidence because a lot of decisions are made for them,” Ms Purcell added.

She said that most of the GROW members are not young adults because their programme is usually more appropriate for people with a lot of life experience.

She also recalled an incident where she asked two young adults in a North Tipperary group if they wanted to shift to another group with people their age.

“Both of them said no because they were learning from the older guys, their experience and I suppose their mistakes,” Ms Purcell said.

She also said that there is a great buzz when she sees somebody start to get back on their feet, even if it is in a small way.

“One guy who left school before his junior Cert 30 years ago, came back, did five years in school and turned his life around with the support of GROW,” Ms Purcell added.

GROW also offers yoga classes, mindfulness groups, and art classes.

Their services are free and they are situated on Henry Street. Interested persons can reach them on (061) 318 813.