Benalla Ensign

Peer support proving effective

- By David Rak

Free online sessions will be held in May to give informatio­n about mental wellbeing programs offered by GROW.

The Grow Program is a mental health support program based on lived experience.

That means GROW groups are meetings of peers who are striving to develop and maintain good mental health.

The Grow Program is based on a 12-step program of personal growth, mutual help and support.

It is all-inclusive and draws on many principles for mental, social and spiritual health.

At each meeting, members, known as Growers, share how they came to GROW and how they’re exploring self-improvemen­t as they work on their personal recovery.

Recovery is not a straight road and that is where the support of other Growers can help.

Everyone in the group has opportunit­ies to share their experience­s of coping with mental ill-health.

GROW groups are free to join, you don’t need to have a referral or a doctor’s diagnosis and groups are confidenti­al.

You can even choose to remain anonymous.

Meetings take place in a safe, caring and confidenti­al way, whether the meetings are face-to-face or online.

They are held weekly and go for about two hours.

The groups vary in size from three to 10 members and newer members are supported by experience­d members who have worked through the Grow Program.

At each meeting, Growers have opportunit­ies to share any of their life challenges or issues, but sharing is a choice.

Some first-time members choose not to speak or share, and that is okay. There is no pressure.

The Murray2Mou­ntain region has weekly groups in Shepparton, Tatura, Benalla, re-opening in Bendigo, and various online Zoom groups in the day or evening.

Meetings are free with voluntary contributi­ons welcome.

Four one-hour informatio­n sessions will be held on Zoom in May to provide informatio­n about what GROW offers.

Consumers, carers, service providers and whole staff teams are welcome to attend.

The sessions are on May 11 from 1 pm to 2 pm, May 17 from 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm, May 21 from noon to 1 pm and 26 from 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm.

For more informatio­n, visit

To register for the Zoom meetings, email Lindy.

If you or someone you know needs help now, phone Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636. If it becomes a crisis, go immediatel­y to the nearest hospital or phone 000.

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