FAQsFrequently Asked Questions
- What is GROW?
- How can I observe a meeting?
- What does GROW mean by “inadequate or maladjusted?
- Where is GROW located in New Zealand?
- What are GROW meetings like?
- Who can be a GROWER?
- Can I do it alone – why do I need a GROW group?
- Is GROW Religious?
- What does GROW cost?
- If I join GROW, will I need to buy any books?
- How is GROW membership anonymous?
- Is there a finite term of membership?
- What is the social side of GROW like?
- Who runs GROW?
- What if there is no group near where I live?
- Do all GROW groups operate the same?
- Can I become a volunteer for GROW? – I want to help people
GROW is a community mental health organisation and is led by people recovering or have recovered from a mental health condition or emotional distress. GROW also provides the steps and support needed to prevent a breakdown, avoid a condition from becoming worse or eliminate it from being a burden.
It’s a voluntary association of people who earnestly desire to change and are helping one another to overcome a problem. Their problems include a vast array of complaints such as depression, anxiety, shyness, loneliness, personal crisis, addiction, and numerous other disorders or circumstances. Not only do they learn to cope with the challenges of life but they also learn the skills to protect against afflictions in the future and grow to personal maturity with the help of the program.
Anyone from the public is invited to attend and observe two or three meetings for a start to see how GROW operates. Once you are satisfied GROW can help, you become a member by attending meetings every week or as often as possible for personal benefit. By regular attendance, you are not only receiving help for yourself but you are benefiting others in the group by just being there and offering mutual help and peer support.
Note: If you are there to observe with no need of help for yourself or you do not want to become a mental health volunteer, then just let someone know you are attending as a “Community Observer”.
Inadequate means you lack the resources to meet a personal task on your own, which is quite often the case when you first join GROW. Most people inquire about GROW to find their focus in life and to get stability and control. Admitting you need some help or personal adjustment to address a problem, whether it be large or small, is the first step in the program.
GROW can be found throughout New Zealand and is specifically located in Auckland, Thames, Christchurch and Dunedin. To locate your nearest group contact us by clicking here and we will send you a group venue meeting list.
GROW is not located in every city or town so if there is no GROW group conveniently close to your location, please feel free to request a ‘national group meeting list’ anyway from GROW Auckland and keep in mind the answer to our last FAQ below, which says: “What if there is no group near where I live?”
GROW groups vary in size and average of 5 to 9 people. Meetings are held weekly, day or night, lasting two hours and are followed by refreshments.
Meetings follow a regular format, which usually begins with a quiet reflective moment followed by a group recited karakia or prayer. They combine personal testimonies, reports on progress, group work on members’ problems and adult education about rebuilding lives. Friendships are formed with the common goal to get well and stay well and it is ordinary between meetings to keep in touch through sociable phone calls or visits.
Anyone who is willing to help and be helped. Participation in GROW is strictly voluntary.No referrals or proof of medical history is necessary.
GROW is open to all human beings – irrespective to belief, race, colour or class.
Many members come to GROW with a history of hospitalisation but probably half come initially because they need help due to some life crises – a death in the family, divorce or a change in career.
GROW members know from experience that it can be too overwhelming to make changes or adjustments to your life habits on your own.
Instead, you will receive the friendly help of your group peers who have been where you have been, who have been shown how to apply the program to their own lives and are now wanting to show you how you can experience the same success.
It’s a journey where you are learning to take back a bit more control week by week and experience happiness again. GROW can help no matter how small or large you imagine your condition to be.
GROW, being a 12 step program, does typically have some prayers and references to God in its delivery. However, GROW does not discriminate – both religious and non-faith believing people are welcome to attend GROW. Probably half of all current members do not practice any faith-based religion. There are alternative non-religious recitation options for groups to use and it is up to the leader of the group on the day which one they use.
As an alternative explanation, members are encouraged to live life up to their highest values or their own beliefs. GROW is spiritual, as it recognizes the inherent worth of persons and the need we all have to trust ourselves, namely to have soundly based self-confidence.
GROW sees that confidence is the ability to trust others in keeping with the positive, transcendent force in life that for many is God.
GROW does not have any affiliation with any particular church or denomination.
There is no fees or dues to attend a GROW group meeting. However, if you feel to give a donation towards the group’s expenses that would be appreciated but there is no obligation.
A donation box is made available within the group setting so that donations can be made anonymously. If you require a donation receipt please speak to the group Treasurer before donating. In return for donations, GROW invites you to receive ‘tax credits’ (for more info see our ‘Donate’ page).
There have been many books, topical readings, and testimonies written by members and seasoned leaders to GROW over the years that can be made readily available to you. All are written to help you understand and come to terms with a variety of mental or emotional conditions – their prevention and improvement.
The one essential book you should consider buying as soon as possible is “The Program of Growth to Maturity“, which is affectionately known by members as the “Blue Book”. The cost is $5 and is frequently referred to in a group.
You will initially be lent a Blue Book to use while attending a group until you are ready to buy. This book contains condensed forms of GROW program learning’s, from which, most other GROW material is written concerning its content.
Other books can be acquired over time as you progress in GROW and can be purchased over the website or from within the group.
In GROW we respect the privacy of individuals to ensure their safety and to gain the confidence of all members of the group. Whatever is shared in a group generally stays within the group – we ask that all members respect this rule. Members need only be known by their first name if they wish.
No. The membership term is open-ended and you are welcome to remain a lifetime member irrespective of your recovery – provided you are receiving comfort and aiding others. Long-term members who stay active in GROW are often referred to as ‘Seasoned Growers’.
Unlike the GROW weekly meetings, which are quite structured and purposeful in format, the GROW socials are much more free and relaxed to encourage and develop ongoing friendships to compliment the weekly meetings.
Some social events involve meeting together with members of your own group while other larger meetings are regularly organised with members of combined groups.
GROW New Zealand belongs to an international mental health movement, which began in Australia. In NZ its National Office is run by seasoned GROW volunteers that form an Incorporated Society that is registered with the NZ Charities Commission.
The individual GROW groups are unincorporated societies, self-governing, operate their own bank accounts and apply for grants to cover administration and program expenses. They operate according to the National organisation’s program rules and objectives.
What if there is no group near where I live?
Normally, we recommend you attend a GROW group and over time purchase the helpful literature and books while getting the friendly support you need from your group peers. However, if there is no group situated conveniently nearby, you are welcome to buy the books online through the website to read and explore.
If possible, when visiting a town where you know a group meets, it is recommended that you attend a group meeting to understand more of how GROW is designed to work in mutual help and socially interactive environment.
We are looking at innovative ways to start GROW groups in cities and regions where there is none currently. If there is no group conveniently near you, you are welcome to leave your details with our enquiry Centre in Auckland and we will endeavour to contact you again in the future or as new opportunities arise.
Do all GROW groups operate the same?
Yes. All GROW support groups follow a recognisable and structured meeting agenda called the “group method”. A copy of the group method is printed on a card and distributed to all present at the beginning of every meeting. The meeting usually lasts about 1.5 – 2 hours and is usually overseen by an approved trained Organiser. One of the reasons for having such a meeting structure is that a relatively new member can soon learn to chair or lead a meeting by following the group method. Leading a meeting will often fast track a members self-development – for gaining confidence, leadership skills and emotional maturity.
Can I become a volunteer for GROW? – I want to help people
Yes, you can. GROW is about being a community of people and forming friendships with the goal of achieving and preserving good mental health. Volunteers can become members too and play a vital role in assisting others. As a volunteer, you can contribute by being supportive in an enabling way and guide fellow members into achieving greater mental strength and emotional maturity. GROW is about prevention from mental illness as well as a cure. Please read the ways you can volunteer and apply by clicking here. A group venue list will be sent to you.