There are times in life when you need help recovering from anxiety, stress, depression, grief, loneliness, or mental health issues. Times when it feels like your current life is simply unfulfilling. This is the time to start the recovery process and rebuild with the support group GROW In New Jersey.
The community mental health movement GROW was started in Australia in 1957 by former patients with mental health issues. They gathered together to establish a working program. The international movement GROW expanded to the United States with GROW In America, and then to the individual states of Alaska, Illinois, and New Jersey. GROW is not an acronym, it just means to grow towards maturity and better mental health. GROW has what is called The Four Essential Features. These components include help groups, a Program of Recovery and Personal Growth, a Caring and Sharing Community, and a legal and organized structure.
Time to GROW
According to the organization, GROW In New Jersey formed in 1990 with funding from a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation mental heath initiative grant and a matching grant from the New Jersey Department of Mental Health. GROW In New Jersey continues to get funding from an umbrella grant from Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey. You can find GROW in such New Jersey communities are Brick, Freehold, Ocean Grove, Vineland, and Somerville.
GROW’s foundation is based upon leadership, education, friendship, and support groups. Every week, the groups meet for about two hours, often with a time for refreshments. The group can have anywhere from three to 15 attendees. The meetings can be at such locations as local libraries, churches, wellness centers, and mental health agencies. Beyond the meetings, there are monthly social activities, such as potluck dinners, a group picnic at a park setting, or a meal at a local restaurant. There also are leadership workshops and community weekends. The members of GROW are voluntary, anonymous, and kept confidential. There are no membership fees or annual dues. It is open to members of all life experiences, beliefs, cultures, and backgrounds.
A Multi-Step Process
Field Worker John Farnish has worked for GROW In New Jersey for two years, and been a member for six. “A person visiting a GROW group for the first time will notice that there are specific times for different parts of the meeting. All are crucially important for mental health recovery. One part of the group focuses on problem solving where members can bring up concerns to the group. At another part, the group focuses on learning from the program how to deal with life’s problems. There is a time to set goals for the week and a time to follow up on the previous week’s goals. The group method has been clinically proven to be effective.” The meeting also includes reading the 12 steps of the GROW program, as well as listening to testimonies from members.
If you feel like you need help, give GROW in NJ a try and attend a meeting. You can find out about meeting locations and get directions by contacting John Farnish at 732-228-0932. To find out more information, visit the national GROW website at www.growinamerica.org and click on the New Jersey link.