Soul Survivors 2
The stories here are both harrowing and inspiring. Harrowing in the depiction of terrible abuse in many cases, of awful loneliness, trauma and despair. But inspiring too, for in all cases the stories tell of recovery, growth, strength, peace and happiness. How GROW enabled people rise from the depths of misery to a life of fulfillment and enjoyment.
Of course, that is not the universal experience of people who join GROW, but it is what happened very many of the people I have met through GROW since I first became involved with the organisation over three years ago. And those people – members of, the executive of GROW, fieldworkers, heads of regional teams – are the best possible advertisement for the organisation. Most of them have come through their own traumas, all of them have emerged from those traumas not just to lead ordinary lives but to lead extraordinary lives of service and caring for others who are suffering from mental illness.
GROW is no substitute for the psychiatric service, for hospitals and for medication. Many people who suffer mental illness ‘need psychiatric help, need hospitalization at times, need medication at times. But GROW offers support and comradeship to those undergoing mental illness from people who know exactly what they are suffering. But more than that, GROW encourages them to reach beyond their own desolations and help others. Perhaps it is that motivation to reach beyond themselves towards others that is the outstanding contribution GROW has to offer.
By Vincent Browne, Journalist, Broadcaster, President Friends of GROW