...our new vision is one that better understands, cares for and values our young people’s mental health.Jigsaw - Our Strategy 2018–2020
For Jigsaw, 2017 was a year in which we supported more young people than ever before.Dr Joseph Duffy, Chief Executive Officer.
With three new services opening in Dublin, Limerick and Cork, we extended our reach to a total of 13 communities across Ireland. We grew our specialist education and training programme, launching seven new workshops to further increase awareness and understanding of young people’s mental health.
Much has been achieved since we were founded in 2006. We have established Jigsaw services across the country and between them they have supported, directly and indirectly over 20,000 young people, the majority within the last three years. Youth volunteers, through the development of our Youth Advisory Panels, have provided advice, guidance and helped promote our work. We’ve trained tens of thousands adults and young people in communities across Ireland, increasing their understanding and knowledge about youth mental health. In collaboration with University College Dublin (UCD) we published the first and largest survey of young people’s mental health in Ireland, the My World Survey. Along with emerging data gathered in our services, this has established the evidence base for the effectiveness of early intervention and prevention in youth mental health.
Mental health remains the number one concern for young people across Ireland. And the impact is clear – suicide remains a significant cause of death among Irish young people aged 15-24, rates of self-harm are higher than ever before and young people across the country are experiencing unprecedented levels of anxiety and stress in their everyday lives.
The pressure on young people particularly matters to Ireland, because we have one of the youngest populations in Europe, with one-third of our population aged under 25. Adolescents (12-17 years) and emerging adults (18-25) make up over 17% of Ireland’s population (approx. 795,000 people). By 2020, this number is due to swell by over 13% (Central Statistics Office, 2016). Alongside this, mental health support services across primary and secondary care are stretched and under-resourced; areas such as research and stigma reduction remain under-invested in and innovations in areas such as e-mental health, school supports and services operating outside 9am to 5pm are limited in scale and ambition.
Despite these challenges, as a country our understanding of mental health has increased as it has emerged from the shadows, which in turn provides us with new and exciting opportunities to consider how our mental health services are conceptualised and delivered to young people. In 2017 we agreed to work together with UCD to advance the research and understanding of youth mental health in Ireland and laid down the plans for conducting the My World Survey for the second time. We began looking at how we can reach more young people that need our support through working with schools, and developing a range of digital and online supports.
You will see in this report that we are coming to the end of a three year strategy (2015-2017), and are beginning a new phase. Jigsaw is, and remains, an organisation committed to serving young people, aged 12-25, and one that adopts an evidence informed and early intervention approach. Over the next three years we will expand the reach and impact of our services, increase and strengthen the involvement of communities across Ireland to help drive the change in how we as a country support youth mental health, and use our influence to advocate for better mental health supports for young people to inform the decisions made by policy makers and politicians.
We set ourselves the vision of creating ‘an Ireland where every young person’s mental health is valued and supported’. It’s ambitious. We are hugely thankful, throughout the year, for the support from individuals all over Ireland, and our partners including the HSE, County Councils, Lidl, MSD, Three and others. This support allows us to end 2017 in a strong position and able to begin investing in tackling those new challenges that will lead us towards achieving our vision.
All of us in Jigsaw have one thing in common. We come to work every day because there is a young person who needs us. And that’s true whether we work directly with young people, or whether we work behind the scenes supporting our IT, fundraising, finance or human resources. I know the Jigsaw team are a determined bunch, the quality of their work is hugely important to them, and as a team we will continue to strive towards a stronger, healthier Ireland.
Dr Joseph Duffy
Chief Executive Officer
We have sat on interview panels throughout the year so as to ensure that young people are involved from the very beginning of a staff member’s role in Jigsaw. We are involved in all interview panels from Finance Managers to Clinical Support Workers to HR Officers, to ask questions about youth participation and to gauge people’s interest and understanding of it.
In 2017, Jigsaw were selected for partnerships with both Lidl and Three. As part of this the Youth Advisory Panel have been involved in media and promotion for both partnerships. We have also begun working with Three to develop online mental health supports for young people.
We continue to provide our unique perspectives and insights as young people. This year Joseph (our Chief Executive Officer) and Gillian (our Director of Clinical Governance) consulted closely with us before they spoke to the Joint Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care at the Oireachtas. We are also being consulted on the development of the second My World Survey.
These are just a few examples of the ways in which the Youth Advisory Panel helps to shape Jigsaw. Jigsaw values youth participation in a way that few other organisations do. We have our voice heard and incorporated into everything Jigsaw does. The respect Jigsaw has for young people’s voices is a great reflection on the organisation as a representative of young people in Ireland. It makes it easier for young people to trust the organisation, and it means the service can more accurately help young people with their mental health.
Chloe Maguire Sedgwick
Jigsaw Youth Advisory Panel
It’s a great service, and it really helped me through a rough time and helped me to change my thinking for the betterA quote from a young person who attended Jigsaw for support with their mental health.