"What we know about human growth is that... these difficult moments end up being very important." - Eduardo Vega

Growing Through is an innovative, strengths-based approach to supporting others through challenging life events and personal distress. Guided by best practices for mental health peer support and suicide prevention, informed by the recovery model, humanistic psychology and lived expertise, Growing Through provides skills training for serving as an “ally” to others in these difficult times, including effective use of one’s personal experience. 

Growing Through is founded on the philosophy that every individual’s life journey is unique and valuable. For some people, the most significant moments of that journey include intense difficulty, distress and/or pain, including despair and thoughts of death. By approaching struggle and crisis, including suicidal intensity, as parts of personal growth, Growing Through "Allies" help people find value and meaning in the midst of pain, and maximize their own resources for recovery.

Growing Through Training Experiences provide participants with the skills and confidence to be effective “Allies” in a variety of scenarios, including those where issues violence, self-harm and suicide may be present. Through focused experiential exercises grounded in the Growing Through Values and Practices, participants learn to identify and reframe unhelpful terminology, develop positive listening skills and be authentically, helpfully present even in the most intense of moments. GT Intensives and module-based trainings are available for professionals, leadership, para-professionals, peer specialists, community crisis counsellors, college counsellors and the general public.

This experiential session introduces the Growing Through philosophy and core practices including authentic presence and positive inhibition. It provides simple steps for keeping the focus on the ‘peer in pain’ and avoiding the impulse to advise while sharing personal lived experience in a helping context. Using real play and role play scenarios participants gain skill in the Growing Through approach to ensure that what they have to ‘offer’ is timely and truly helpful.  

Who Should Attend:

Growing Though training is designed for a range of service providers including crisis/support contact centre staff and volunteers. Combining practices for connecting authentically via presence and positive inhibition with a highly structured approach for offering personal experience to others in the context of intensity or 'crisis', offering presence fills a critical gap in suicide prevention, community mental health and peer specialist service.

The Growing Through workshops are worth 20 points/6.5 hours CPD

About the presenter:

Eduardo Vega, MA

For over twenty-five years, Eduardo Vega has worked as a leader in advocacy and transformative behavioural health programs and practices internationally.

This has included providing technical assistance, research and training projects, and major policy initiatives in suicide prevention, stigma and discrimination reduction. Also, consumer rights and empowerment, community integration, self-help and peer support services.

From 2010- 2016 he served as President/CEO of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco, and was the founder and Principal Investigator of the USA Center for Dignity, Recovery & Empowerment. Eduardo now serves on the American Steering Committee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Global Anti-Stigma Alliance and the Executive Committee of the US National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, through which he founded the first national Suicide Attempt Survivor Task Force.

A person with lived experience of suicide and a consumer advocate himself, he helped found the Destination Dignity! Project, United Suicide Survivors International and other transformative initiatives. Eduardo is a former Fulbright Specialist and California State Commissioner for Mental Health, and for his work in culturally focused programs, stigma reduction, empowerment and systems change he has been recognized by the United States Senate, the US Surgeon General and others. He holds an M.A. in Psychology from New School for Social Research.

Scholarships Available

Wanting to attend this workshop but struggling with the cost?

The Mental Health Foundation and GROW invite scholarship applications from individuals with ‘lived experience of mental distress' or those who identify as Māori, Pacific, LGBTQ+ who are working within mental health, education, justice or social service settings.

Please email feona@grow.co.nz with why you are seeking a scholarship, and include a contact number in your email. Important -  in your email subject please include the date & location of the workshop you are interested in.

Scholarships are limited to 50% of the workshop fees only. 

Dates & Locations:


One Day Workshop - Thursday, 1 August 2019

The Edgar Centre
116 Portsmouth Drive,

There is ample off street free parking at the facility

Workshops run 9.00am - 3.30pm, with Registration and Welcome tea & coffee from 8.30am.


One Day Workshop - Friday, 2 August 2019 

Naumi Auckland Airport Hotel
153 Kirkbride Road
Mangere, Auckland
09 912 3333

There is free parking at the venue.

Please contact Naumi Auckland Airport Hotel directly for accommodation bookings.

Workshops run 9.00am - 3.30pm, with Registration and Welcome tea & coffee from 8.30am.

Price & Registration:

One Day Workshops
Govt. Agencies and Corporates: $225 + GST
Not-for-Profits: $195 + GST
Lived-Experience or Unemployed: $100 + GST

If you are sending 5 or more delegates email us to get a discounted rate.

Registration process

Payment online is by VISA, Mastercard or American Express only and there are 3 easy steps to complete the online booking process.
Upon completion of your registration, you will receive an automated confirmation email. If you have any issues or questions about your booking, please contact Feona Horrex on 06 878 3456 or email: feona@grow.co.nz

What happens if you have to cancel?

We know that sometimes your plans can change for many different reasons. Should you be unable to attend, a substitute delegate is welcome to attend at no extra cost. If a substitute delegate is not available and you need to cancel your registration, please be aware of the following:

Up to 7 days prior to the event you will be provided a refund of your registration cost, less a $50.00 per attendee plus GST service charge

If you cancel within 7 days of the event, you are not eligible to receive a refund. Please note: should your registration not be paid by the time of the event, you are still liable to make the payment. 

Unpaid accounts may be passed over to our debt collection agency and additional costs may be incurred. 

All cancellations must be received in writing (email). You will be sent the event's materials upon request.

Delegates are responsible for their own travel/accommodation bookings and no compensation will be made should the event be rescheduled or cancelled.

Please note: GROW Ltd reserves the right to make any amendments that we may deem to be in the best interest of the forum – it is however very unlikely and we will notify you as soon as possible should this occur.

For more information see our full Terms of Trade.

Further Details

Morning tea and lunch are included.

Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options will be available. In an effort to keep the price as low as possible, other special dietary requirements are unable to be catered for. You are however welcome to bring your own snacks and lunch.

Post-Event Takeaway Reference Material

In line with our sustainability objectives, conference presentations will not be distributed in hard copy but will instead be available via a weblink to be advised via email following the conference.

Commitment to Access and Equity

We are committed to access and equity and endeavour to meet the needs of all delegates. Please contact our team at 06 878 3456 if you require special assistance. In order to assist us in understanding delegate needs, please advise your access requirements as early as possible. Request at late notice may not be able to be met.


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For further details, please contact:
Feona Horrex at feona@grow.co.nz or
Phone: 06 878 3456