GROW is a community-based organisation that has helped thousands of Australians with their recovery from mental ill-health through a unique program of mutual support and personal development.
Established in Sydney in 1957, the founders were drawn together by their first-hand experience of mental ill-health. The wisdom they gained in helping each other overcome life’s challenges and move toward recovery, was carefully recorded and this forms the basis of the Grow Program.
Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck – Grow Chair
Lesley is well known in the mental health sector. Lesley was the inaugural Mental Health Commissioner in Queensland. She has also held the position of Mental Health Commissioner for the Mental Health Commission in Western Australia.
John MacIsaac – Deputy Chair
John has worked as a consulting engineer for over 30 years in the minerals industry. He has participated and volunteered in the GROW program in various roles since 2006 and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Peter Barker – Treasurer
Peter is a senior finance executive with significant domestic and international experience. He is the Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary of multi-national engineering, scientific and international development company Cardno Ltd.
Sonia Di Mezza – Director
Sonia Di Mezza is a solicitor and human rights lawyer. She is the CEO of the Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services in Bendigo, Victoria, supporting refugees and migrants with settlement services. She has set up and managed human rights projects in Pakistan and Sudan; worked as a Resettlement Consultant for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Lebanon; worked in India promoting the rights of child labourers; and as a Refugee Lawyer in Australia. Sonia holds a Master of International Law, majoring in human rights law.
Heath Fereday – Community Member
Heath has 10 years of experience in working with the Grow Program and more than 7 years of experience in Program and Consumer Leadership Roles within GROW. Heath is the Chair of the South Australian Branch Program Team (elected peer leaders), a member of the National Program Team and is an active member of the GROW Community and was nominated to the Board by his peers.
Mark George – Community Member
Mark has been a member of the Grow community since 2016 and enjoys the opportunities that GROW offers for, friendship, leadership and connection. Mark represents Tasmania in the Victoria Tasmania Branch Program Team of which he is also the Deputy Chair. Mark is also a member of National Program Team and was nominated to the Board by his peers.
Jeremy Morse – Director
Jeremy is a Business Performance Analyst at Anglicare Southern Qld. He was the Financial Accountant and Analyst for Anglicare Tasmania, and during the NDIS trial period, he oversaw the transition of contracts into funding under the NDIS.
Ina Mullin – Director
Ina joined Lifeline in June 2018 after business development, brand management and public relations roles at a variety of charity organisations. After serving ten years as an overnight volunteer at a crisis shelter for the homeless, Ina has focused on creating opportunities that contribute to building a more compassionate society with emphasis on empowering people with lived experience to share their story safely. Ina holds a Master of Arts in Communications Management, an Executive Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons). At Lifeline, Ina is responsible for the team that manages the Lifeline brand and national communications and public relations activity.
Steve Ryan – Director
Steve has had extensive exposure across the public, superannuation, union and not-for-profit sectors. He has held roles as a secondary school teacher, Qld Teachers’ Union President, a Trustee of the QSuper Board, and a director of QInvest.
Virginia Slaughter – Director
Virginia is Professor and Head of the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland. A developmental psychologist by training, Virginia’s own research focuses on social and cognitive development in infants and young children. In her 25-year career as an academic, Virginia has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, three edited volumes and a first-year Psychology textbook. She is the recipient of several teaching awards, including the University of Queensland Teaching Excellence Award (1999) and an Australian Award for University Teaching (in the category Teaching Large First Year Classes; 2005). Virginia is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.
Ian Sloan – Director
Ian is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has extensive experience in business and technology. Ian has worked with government, private business and a range of not-for-profit organisations. Ian is the Managing Director of DSBS IT Consulting and Contracting.
David Butt is the National CEO of GROW and works with the Board to guide the performance and development of GROW.
Our Values and Principles
We act ethically and always take responsibility for our actions.
We believe every person has intrinsic value.
We collaborate and share knowledge, skills and expertise for the personal development of leadership for all.
We support each other and act with courage in the best interest of GROW.
We create a caring and sharing community to provide a sense of belonging, social connectedness, and purpose to everyday life.
Want to know more about Grow?
Contact us below for more information
Is Grow for me?
If you need support for your mental wellbeing, Grow can help. Our members are people just like you, who’ve learned and are learning skills to help them in their everyday lives. We encourage new members to come along and see if it’s for them. There’s no obligation to continue if you feel it’s not for you.
What happens if I want to come along?
The first step is just deciding if you want to come. So you’re already halfway there. Next, it’s good to call your local Grow group leader who can help you take the next step.
What happens at Grow groups?
Grow members talk about their experiences and support each other with their mental illness journey.
Can I bring someone along with me?
Yes, support people are also welcome to come along.
What do I need to bring?
You need only bring a desire to care for your mental health.
How much does it cost?
There are no costs involved in coming to a Grow group.
Where and when are Grow group meetings?
Meetings are held in various places and at various times. Click here to find a Grow group near you.