THE Department of Health has announced a significant €700,000 investment for a new “youth-friendly” mental health service in Limerick.
Minister for Mental Health, Social Care and Primary Care, Kathleen Lynch announced the new funding, which will establish the Jigsaw project — a youth mental health service for people aged 12 to 25 - in Limerick.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to secure the Jigsaw service for Limerick,” said the minister of the Jigsaw service, which is currently available in ten locations throughout the country.
“This service has proven to be invaluable in other parts of the country and I have been keen to have it also established in Limerick. One of my key priorities for 2016 is to enhance and develop mental health services in primary care and in the community.
“This is a great example of how this can work and has come about as a result of the additional funds given to mental health in the budget for this year. This is the second new service for youth mental health that will be established in Limerick this year, along with additional mental health supports to Limerick Youth Service.
“It will greatly enhance the current services for young people. It will also dovetail well with the other services currently being provided by the HSE Mental Health team in the Mid-West.”
Recruitment of a Project Manager for the Jigsaw project in Limerick will commence in February. Following this there will be engagement with young people, the HSE and Limerick City and County Council to secure a suitable premises as a base for the project. It is anticipated that Jigsaw will have approximately 1,500 ‘face to face contacts’ with young people in a year in Limerick.
Cllr Daniel Butler, who was project coordinator during the design of the initiative, said the service will be a “one-stop shop” for youths experiencing a wide variety of mental difficulties.
He said that people will be assessed when they arrive, and will then be advised on their next steps.
The initiative was first developed by Headstrong mental health services, which is active in 10 communities in Ireland.
HSE Mid-West chief officer Bernard Gloster said that the investment was a “major boost to the health and wellbeing of teenagers in Limerick.
“Far too often we encounter people when they are in crisis, none more so than those who experience mental health pressures.
“Jigsaw is about ensuring young people have access to youth-friendly health services. It is not just about professionals but also building capacity in communities to support young people and challenging all of us to become engaged in our young people’s wellbeing.”
In November, the Minister also announced €130,000 annual funding for mental health services, with staffing, with the Limerick Youth Service.
Announcing the investment, she said that “young people experiencing anxiety, anger, stress, social isolation and depression can avail of up to six counselling sessions with Jigsaw. Early intervention is critical to mental health wellbeing”.
Cllr Butler said an “ideal location” for Jigsaw would be O’Connell Street, where it would be “very visible”.