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What does the name "GROW" signify?

The goal of GROW is recovery and personal growth, and the name “GROW” represents this goal. Recovery and personal growth are, after all, one continuously active process that is common to all humanity.

 Our History

GROW was founded in Australia in 1957 by former mental patients who found their way to recovery together and created a program that worked. Gradually the organization evolved into an international mental health movement with branches in the USA (Illinois, New Jersey and Alaska), Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Trinidad/Tobago.


GROW's Four Essential Features

GROW has a unique method of recovery and personal growth known as “The Four Essential Features.” These four elements include a network of mutual help groups, a written “Program of Recovery and Personal Growth,” a “Caring and Sharing Community” and an organizational and legal structure. 

  • THE GROUPS:  GROW groups are organized, friendly help.  Groups follow a standard format or “Group Method,” that enables any member to lead the meeting and ensures that groups are both supportive and productive.  Meetings include a personal testimony, problem-solving with assignment of practical tasks, reports on progress, and development of new understandings through mutual education. 
  • THE PROGRAM:  GROW members learn new ways of thinking and acting through group participation and by practicing the “GROW Program of Recovery and Personal Growth.”  The Program is a written, structured philosophy of life and psychology of mental health for the ordinary person. It was born out of our founders’ resolve to record and keep what worked in their own recovery, and its continued development has been ensured by GROW leaders over the years.
  • THE COMMUNITY:  The true heart and spirit of GROW is its “Caring and Sharing Community,” where members realize weekly group work in their daily lives.  The GROW community is based on a network of friendships and developed through diverse social, educational and leadership events.   Friendship is the foundation of the Caring leadership and Sharing Community and the special key to mental  health.  Our experience of GROW friendship is healing and harmonizing and essential to our recovery and personal growth.
  • THE ORGANIZATIONAL AND LEGAL STRUCTURE: We accomplish two goals by maintaining an organizational and legal structure:  We can be consistent and responsible in meeting the needs of our membership while also remaining accountable to our funding authorities. This structure, which is administered by experienced leaders and paid staff, serves to protect the authenticity of the groups, the GROW Program and the Caring and Sharing Community.

LEADERSHIP:  Leaders foster, protect, and share the Four Essential Features of GROW for one major reason -- because GROW has worked in their own lives. Because it has worked for them, they know it can also work for others.  Future GROW leaders join a group out of personal need but eventually discover that one solution to their own problems lies in helping others. Leaders become companions and friends to those in need and fill many other essential roles – such as that of group “Organizer,” leadership team member, and staff person.