Jigsaw project 'massive step forward' for mental health in Limerick

 Youth therapy service officially opens in city centre with €700K Government investment

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Jigsaw project 'massive step forward' for mental health in Limerick

Jan O’Sullivan, Cian Aherne, Kathleen Lynch, Labour, and Gerry Linnane at Jigsaw Limerick

                         

A VITAL youth mental health service has this week opened its doors in Limerick city centre, where young people in distress can avail of safe and confidential therapies free of charge.

The Jigsaw project, which started taking referrals at its Arthur’s Quay shopping centre offices this Monday, is one of 13 regional hubs specialising in mental health supports amongst 12- to 25-year-olds.

In January 2016, the former Minister of State for Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch announced a €700,000 investment into the service. However, by November last, the delivery of the project was shrouded in doubt, as it could not secure a clinical lead for its services.

After an arduous recruitment campaign, it had secured the crucial role by this spring.

Project manager Gerry Linnane, previously of Limerick Social Services Centre, said that he was “delighted and excited” about the inaugural week, and that “it has been a long road to get here”.

He thanked the HSE, local community and statutory services, the national Jigsaw office, and the Tiernan family, who run Arthur’s Quay shopping centre.

Cllr Daniel Butler, who was involved in the design phase of the local project, welcomed the opening of Jigsaw.

“This is massive step forward for the mental health of the young people of Limerick. It will work with other agencies to support the wellbeing of young people while offering their own support services and referral pathways to the relevant professionals. As a parent, we now have some place to bring our young people to when we don't know where to turn.”

Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan said that the opening of the service was a “very positive development” in addressing the mental health issues that face young people in Limerick.

“I hope these who are anxious or worried or distressed will see that this is a service for them that is easily accessible and young person friendly.”

One of the key features of the service is that, while it will engage with services across the city and county, it will also engage young people in designing and planning a “youth-friendly” service, a spokespersons said.

Parents, teachers, health professionals and youth workers may also refer potential clients to the Jigsaw programme. People can contact Jigsaw Limerick via 061-974510, or via limerick@jigsaw.ie.