This year we saw our 2015-2017 Strategic Plan draw to a close. Jigsaw has grown and evolved significantly during the duration of the plan. The plan put our mission at the heart of our organisation, a mission which has informed everything we have done since we were founded in 2006. It had three overarching objectives:
The main activities undertaken to further these objectives were three inter-related programmes of: (i) Research, (ii) Engagement and (iii) Jigsaw services.
To support this we focused heavily on growing our services, and developing mentally healthy and supportive communities across Ireland, all guided by our research and evaluation. Our outcomes for young people and their communities over the period were:
Over the 12 years since we were founded, we have contributed to and achieved some significant successes in support of the mental health of young people across Ireland:
Achievements of note for the year of 2017 are reported in other sections of the report.
Much has been achieved since 2006 when the first staff were employed in Jigsaw. However, we know there is still a lot more to do. Mental health remains the number one concern for young people across Ireland.
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.
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%.
Our understanding of mental health has increased as it has emerged from the shadows, which in turn provides new and exciting opportunities to consider how our mental health services are conceptualised and delivered to young people.
Regulatory and legal changes have increased the need for transparent governance in all that we do, alongside the need to provide the best value for money and greatest impact for those who invest in our work.
In early 2017 we took this experience along with our insight and learning, and in conversation with others started to create a new three-year strategy to commence in 2018. This strategy will build on the successes of our last strategy and on the lessons learnt. Jigsaw is, and will remain, an organisation committed to serving young people, aged 12-25 and one that adopts an evidence-informed early intervention and prevention approach.
In order to achieve our mission, we have identified three strategic priorities for the next three years, aimed at promoting better alignment and focus, ensuring proactive, productive action that unites our people, our passion, our resources, and our energy in the appropriate direction:
We use our experience and knowledge to create a more supportive environment for young people. We influence decisions and work collectively with our partners to secure changes to awareness levels, laws, policies, funding and more to advance our vision for the mental health of Ireland’s young people.
We believe in a community based, holistic approach and we cannot achieve our vision without the active involvement of, and engagement with, communities across Ireland. In order to drive the change we see as essential in youth mental health we aim to inform, support, educate and empower a wide section of our communities, enabling a better understanding of our collective responsibility in supporting young people’s mental health.
Our early intervention youth mental health services are designed to be safe and compassionate spaces in and of the community. They offer quality care to a young person when and where they need it.
These strategic priorities are underpinned by a new set of values that define who we are and how we act in our day-to-day steps towards achieving our new strategy:
Our new strategy was launched in early 2018.
While this strategy will guide the organisation for the next three years, we have an ambitious vision for an Ireland where every young person’s mental health is valued and supported. We know that this will take time, and that we can’t do it alone. It will involve communities across Ireland coming together to make it happen like never before. This strategy is just the first step on that path to a stronger, healthier Ireland.
We provide a range of supports to young people and the adults in their communities, including individual work with young people, parents, school teachers, and health professionals, and working with them together through a programme of education and training.
All of our services work to improve the mental health outcomes for young people and develop mentally healthy and supportive communities that can continue to thrive long after our work with them is done.
Jigsaw provides 13 services in communities across Ireland providing early intervention mental health support to young people. Our services are designed in consultation with young people to be a welcoming place they can visit for free information and support from trained mental health professionals. If a young person wants support, our service teams are there to listen, without making judgements, and to provide supportive guidance. They also provide information and advice to anyone who is worried about a friend or young person in their life.
A key part of our service is our free therapeutic support to help young people cope with the mental health challenges they face including anxiety, stress and sleep issues. Young people can take part in up to eight sessions with a mental health professional. They are encouraged to identify goals which they are supported in working towards through problem solving, learning new skills and connecting with other services that might be able to help.
We provide a range of specialist education and training programmes in schools, workplaces and community groups which aim to encourage understanding and increase knowledge about youth mental health and the support our services can offer. These include workshops on Understanding Youth Mental Health, Supporting Young People’s Mental Health, My Mental Health: What Helps, and Self Care For One Good Adult. Our Peer Education Training programme works across schools to train young people in the delivery of our It’s Time To Start Talking workshops aiming to promote awareness of youth mental health and encourage young people to talk to someone they trust when feeling worried or down.
Our Read Your Mind programme works with local libraries to provide and promote the availability of a collection of books on mental health. To help people find the right book for them, libraries, local schools, and community groups are provided with a catalogue covering a range of topics including anger, anxiety, bullying, social media, and mindfulness. We also work in partnership with other local services to increase understanding of how our services can work with them, increase awareness of the mental health supports available to young people, and make mental health services easier for young people to access.
Our services supported directly and indirectly an increased number of young people, reaching over 4,300 young people. Comparing the period May to December 2016 (2240 referrals) to the same period in 2017 (3388 referrals), we saw a 51% increase year on year.
We asked young people who attended our services to tell us about their experience of Jigsaw. 956 young people participated. The overwhelming majority said that they were really satisfied with the support they got and would be willing to recommend our services to others, and gave us some useful insights as to how our services supported them.
We opened three new Jigsaw services in partnership with the HSE in Dublin, Limerick and Cork, offering a range of supports to young people and the adults in their communities.
Our Read Your Mind programme was launched in Tallaght and Clondalkin in partnership with South Dublin Libraries, providing access to a range of books to support young people and the adults in their communities.
We launched seven new workshops as part of our education and training programme including Self Care For One Good Adult, My Mental Health: What Helps, Five-A-Day for Mental Health, One Good Coach, and Supporting The Mental Health Of LGBT Young People. In total our new workshops reached over 2,700 people, helping our education and training programme reach over 4000 more people than in 2016.
Throughout 2017, Jigsaw continued to work closely with our partners, led by the HSE and County Councils, who contribute to the resources required in running our local services. These local partnerships are vital for the continued delivery of our services. Jigsaw Donegal is partnered with the local HSE and Alcohol Forum who act as employers and financial administrators. Jigsaw provides funding to our partners for the costs of Jigsaw Donegal.
Jigsaw continues to be actively involved in the implementation of the Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures - National Policy Framework for Children and Young People (2014-2020) through participation in the Children and Young People’s Service Committees (CYPSCs).
Jigsaw’s partnerships in various local programmes continues to go well. As part of our Peer Education programme we work with 35 schools across Clondalkin, Tallaght, Dublin 15, Offaly, and North Fingal. We continue to deliver our Read Your Mind programme in partnership with libraries and local councils across Clondalkin, Tallaght, Offaly and Donegal.
Jigsaw’s national office provides central programme support to all of our services including clinical governance, quality assurance, fidelity management, evaluation, education and training, project management, fundraising, communications, finance, HR, IT and facilities functions.
Jigsaw remains committed to ensuring high quality, safe and effective clinical practice across our services. Clinical team members undergo regular supervision as per our clinical supervision policy.
In 2017 an internal health and safety audit was conducted throughout all services and any issues highlighted were addressed. Jigsaw services use an online data collection and case management system. This system facilitates electronic case management data collection and enables Jigsaw to conduct comprehensive quantitative and qualitative evaluation of our service delivery. Regular reviews across all areas of our operations take place as part of our ongoing risk assessment and controls, with the results of each review reported to management, the Quality and Safety Sub-committee, and via the Chief Executive Officer, to the Board of Directors.
We began working towards achieving the Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations (PQASSO) quality mark - a quality standard developed for the charity sector, offering external verification of the quality and credibility of an organisation. We also began the development of a Quality Assurance Framework for activities that fall outside the PQASSO standard.
We work with communities to kick-start conversations, encourage understanding and increase knowledge about youth mental health. We engage with policy makers and politicians to inform their decisions and advocate for better mental health supports for young people.
The National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health
Throughout 2017, Jigsaw continued to be actively involved with the National Taskforce on Youth Mental Health. Dr Tony Bates, Jigsaw’s Founding Director, was asked to join the taskforce in 2016 by then Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee TD. Its aim was to make recommendations on how to increase awareness of youth mental health and strengthen coordination between support services.
The taskforce issued a report of their recommendations after their final meeting in December 2017. While these recommendations were welcomed, we know there is still a long way to go in making sure that all young people who need support have access to it when they need it and in a way that works for them. We will continue to engage with policy makers and politicians to further influence decision making to deliver better mental health supports for young people.
Education and training
Building on our range of specialist education and training programmes has been a key part of our work in local communities in 2017. Our workshops have a number of aims including to raise awareness, increase help-seeking, and encourage conversations about young people’s mental health.
2017 saw the development and delivery of a number of new workshops including Supporting The Mental Health of LGBT Young People, My Mental Health: What Helps, Five-A-Day for Mental Health, Self-Care For One Good Adult, and One Good Coach.
We delivered workshops to 23,895 people across Ireland including parents and guardians, teachers, GPs, youth leaders and young people. An increase on the 2016 figure of 4,840 people. Evaluation of the programme has shown a significant increase in attendees’ mental health knowledge and beliefs about help-seeking, with overall findings suggesting that participation in the programme is enjoyable and beneficial.
We asked people who took part in our education and training workshops what they liked about them.