Piecing together the Jigsaw of mental health

The mental health needs of young people in Offaly are the focus of a new project.

The mental health needs of young people in Offaly are the focus of a new project.

Developed by Headstrong - the Jigsaw model is an innovative, evidence-based approach for organising services and supports to enhance the mental health and well-being of young people.

It is designed to promote systems of care that are more accessible, youth-friendly, integrated, and engaging for young people.

The basic premise of jigsaw is that whatever their level of need, young people should be able to access quality support, when they need it, in settings where they feel safe, comfortable and respected. It is about meeting young people where they are.

At the recent Joint Policing Committee meeting newly appointed Project Manager Catherine Rountree explained that the project would be aimed at 12 to 25 year olds and provided a point of contact for parents and people working with or supporting young people.

She said it didn’t just focus on severe problems with mental health, but promoted well being and dealt with day problems young people may encounter with things like friendship and exams.

As part of her new role Ms Rountree will visit schools around the country and interact with principles, parents associations, community groups and youth cafes to discuss the needs of young people.

She said she would hope to also link in with existing groups to ensure “there are no holes for young people to fall through.”

“It’s about helping young people to develop in a proactive way,” she said. Ms Rountree said that some young people are very worried about the future, more than they should be, and it was about life experience and showing them that you can come through difficulties. “Suicide is not an option. It’s about life choices and how we can get through tough times,” said Ms Rountree.

It’s hoped the service will have an office in Tullamore by the end of the year.

Anyone wishing to get in touch with Ms Rountree can do so by emailing her at catherine.rountree@jigsaw.ie