Learn more about GROW’s history. We are a community-based organisation that has helped thousands of Australians with their recovery from mental ill-health through a program of mutual support and personal development.
Founded by Catholic priest Father Con Keogh in 1957, GROW continues to provide free, peer-to-peer groups for people looking for support with their mental health and wellbeing.
In 1954, Con suffered a mental breakdown and was hospitalised. He spent about 10 months in hospital and after being discharged, he describes being mortally afraid and suffering from severe memory loss. During his time of recovery, a friend invited Con to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. Despite not identifying as an alcoholic, he attended the meeting.
Con responded well to the fellowship of the meetings and the AA program. Along the way he met others attending AA who were not necessarily alcoholics, but found attending the meetings helped with their mental health. Eventually this group of like-minded friends started to talk about forming a group to meet their own specific needs to help them recover their mental health.
The first meeting
The outcome of this is what we now know as GROW. Although Con and others started meeting years before, April 26 1957 marks the first official meeting of people who were looking for support with their mental health. This group began helping and supporting each other back to good mental health. Back then we were known as Recovery – a name that emphasised the goal and the solution, rather than the problem.
Over the years Con and the leaders developed the 12 Steps of Recovery and Personal Growth. They developed the Blue Book and formalised how the groups would meet and follow an agenda of sorts – tools we still use at all our Grow groups today.
From its very humble beginnings, GROW keeps on developing and expanding across Australia. GROW continues to be a community-based organisation that has helped thousands of Australians with their recovery from mental ill-health.
Along the way, GROW has used the principles and wisdoms of the original Grow program to expand our services . Explore all our programs.
GROW has achieved a great deal since 1954. Learn more about GROW’s history timeline to see our progress.
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