Expressway partners with Grow Mental Health to Launch 12 Calls of Christmas Challenge

Expressway, Ireland’s premium inter-regional coach service, announced its partnership with Grow Mental Health. Encouraging people to safely reconnect over the festive season with the launch of a 12 Calls of Christmas Challenge, this partnership initiative was designed to promote positive mental health and raise vital funds for the non-profit group.

As one of Ireland’s longest standing mental health service providers, empowering and supporting thousands of people since the organisation was set up in 1969, Grow Mental Health has recorded a 400% year on year increase in demand for services since the pandemic began. Delivering a unique peer-to-peer support system to local communities through a tailored 12-Step Recovery and Growth programme, the charity is appealing to the public to make a difference by making 12 simple calls this Christmas.

Proudly supported by Expressway, the initiative will be promoted right across the fleet and through Expressway social media channels over the coming weeks, with the public asked to take on the challenge and text ‘RECONNECT’ to 50300 to donate €4* to Grow Mental Health (Grow Mental Health will receive a minimum of €3.60) – helping them to reconnect those who are struggling at this difficult time.

Welcoming the joint initiative by Grow Mental Health and Expressway, Minister for Mental Health, Mary Butler TD said; “In this difficult and distressing period of living with Covid-19, we all need to maintain contact with family and friends. 

“Across the world, Covid-19 has caused stress and anxiety, but we can improve our mental wellbeing by getting in touch with each other through phone or video call. The 12 Calls of Christmas remind us to make a call and to look after each other, at a time when physical contact may be restricted. Connections are empowering and help us maintain positive mental health, so make a call for 12 days and stay safe.”

Commenting on the vital role that other people have to play in the recovery of an individual, Michele Kerrigan, CEO of Grow Mental Health said: “Considering the pandemic we have all been living through and the time of year, reaching out to one another has never been so important. We see in our support groups every day how the loving presence of another human being can have a transformative effect on the recovery of those with mental health challenges. It is this powerful force of being there for one another that we wanted to capture in our Christmas Campaign.”

Commenting specifically on the partnership Ms Kerrigan went on to say; “Expressway connects people to their communities and loved ones and so does Grow Mental Health, which is why we believe in the magic of this collaboration and the joint message. In Grow we say, ‘You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone,’ and no one should have to.

“We hope that by encouraging people to take on the 12 Calls of Christmas challenge, individuals all over the country will be reminded that they are loved and cared for and that they are not alone.”

Eleanor Farrell, Chief Commercial Officer, Bus Éireann Expressway closed by saying; “Christmas is a wonderful time of year for some people, but we also know that Christmas can be a very difficult time for others, even in the best of years. 2020 has been a particularly difficult year for many of us and it’s never been more important to check in on ourselves and with others. Initiatives that actively promote positive mental health and wellbeing support systems are more important than ever. We are thrilled to partner with Grow Mental Health on this fantastic initiative which we hope will encourage people to reconnect with old friends and loved ones this Christmas.

“We are hoping to create wide-spread awareness of the inaugural 12 Calls of Christmas campaign by carrying campaign messaging across the Expressway fleet and social media channels, and through an investment in supporting Marketing and PR. We will also raise much needed funds for our partners in Grow Mental Health, with whom we share the vision of reconnecting struggling local communities on the road to recovery. This Christmas, Expressway and Grow Mental Health are proud to say ‘Together, we are getting somewhere.” 

The 12 Calls of Christmas challenge concept was inspired by lines from Grow Mental Health’s 12-Step Recovery and Growth programme, such as, ‘a friend is as far as the nearest phone.’ Delivered through virtual weekly meetings, Grow Mental Health is focused on creating new hope, a sense of identity and valued connections by empowering people to nurture their own positive mental health – establishing a path to recovery with education, self-teaching and peer support.

Expressway continued to operate connecting services in-line with government guidelines during the crisis, servicing the essential travel needs of local communities right across Ireland. As the country’s nation bus service, Expressway’s purpose is to connect people with who and what matters to them, committed to the goal of becoming Ireland’s more customer-centred and sustainable transport solution by 2023.

For further information about the partnership or the services provided by Grow Mental Health visit Take on the challenge and connect with the conversation @GROWIreland @ExpresswayIRE 

* Text cost €4. Grow Mental Health will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider: LikeCharity. Helpline: 076 680 5278

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