Minister Kathleen Lynch visits Jigsaw Kerry

July 10th 2013

Minister of State, Department of Health and Department of Justice, Equality & Defence with responsibility for Disability, Older People, Equality & Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch, TD will visited Jigsaw Kerry on Monday July 1st. Minister Lynch met with Mr Michael Fitzgerald, Area Manager with the HSE in Kerry and Dr Tony Bates, Founding Director, Headstrong as well as members of the Youth Advisory Panel and the Jigsaw team. "The Youth Advisory Panel was delighted to welcome Minister Lynch to Jigsaw Kerry. We feel her presence recognises the value of the Youth Advisory Panels' contribution to promoting positive youth mental health in our community" says Sadhbh Baker of the Jigsaw Kerry Youth Advisory Panel. Speaking about the Minister’s visit to Jigsaw Kerry, Mr Michael Fitzgerald, Area Manager with the HSE in Kerry said “Jigsaw Kerry is leading the way nationally in how we respond to youth mental health. Jigsaw is a resource that every community needs but not every community gets. Our mission is to transform the landscape in Kerry in terms of how we understand, talk about and support young people with mental health needs. We do this by providing early and brief intervention for young people with mental health vulnerabilities. We provide training to other professionals in Kerry who work with young people and we’re constantly tackling stigma through our public awareness and schools programme”. “We are on the verge of changing how services are delivered to support young people’s mental health. Research indicates that 75% of mental health difficulties arise before the age of 24. And he added “this is a critical period in their development, if we can identify issues as they emerge then research tells us that early and brief intervention prevents people from experiencing lifetimes of pain and lost opportunities. ” “In difficult times we need to innovate and come forward with novel and effective solutions” Mr. Michael Fitzgerald said. “We’re proud of what we have achieved and Minister Lynch’s visit provided the perfect opportunity to show how Jigsaw complements the work we are doing in developing Community Based Mental Health Teams. By joining up with the existing local resources, we are re-configuring services to make them more accessible and youth friendly. Jigsaw clearly demonstrates that it is possible to reduce stigma, remove barriers and design a service that works for young people. We listen carefully to their ideas and real feedback so that we can provide a better more effective service”, he concluded. “Adolescence can be a turbulent time and the system is weakest where it needs to be strongest”, according to Dr Tony Bates, Founding Director of Headstrong. “Jigsaw Kerry has been a real team effort. We are now seeing many key agencies working in genuine partnership to improve services and supports for young people. If we are to achieve meaningful change for young people and their mental health we must work together more effectively. In its absence we will continue to fail our young people”. “Ireland in 2013 is a much tougher, trickier place to grow up in particularly for a young person with a mental health vulnerability. This is a hopeful step in the right direction. And it’s different because it involves grassroot community supports combined with professionals informed by the end users – young people themselves. This is an important milestone in Kerry and ensures that by 2016 every young person will have somewhere to turn to and someone to talk to.” Dr Bates said and he thanked Minister Lynch for making time to see Jigsaw Kerry in action. “Minister Lynch met the dynamic team behind Jigsaw Kerry and listened to the difference Jigsaw makes to the lives of young people, and we hope she was be moved and why it is the best way forward for youth mental health.” To make an appointment: Call (066) 718 6785 Email Kerry@jigsaw.ie