Our Jigsaw services team

Meet the amazing people who make up our Jigsaw services team.

From social work, mental health nursing, occupational therapy to clinical, counselling and educational psychology, they all come from a range of professional backgrounds. As part of the team across our 13 Jigsaw services, they are helping us to create an Ireland where every young person's mental health is valued and supported. 

I'm a qualified Counselling Psychologist. As a clinical support worker in Jigsaw Dublin City one of the things I really value about my job is that every week is filled with a lot of variety. One of the most essential aspects of my role is the one on one therapeutic work with young people. I love this work and it is very fulfilling when you can help someone to feel better or to achieve a goal that is important to them. 

This work is dynamic and challenging, and often during the course of one day I will have appointments that vary from an initial meeting with a young person to saying goodbye and ending. I think this helps to keep the momentum up for me, and helps me to feel engaged and interested.

I also really like the opportunity to go to trainings, and the continuing professional development and education that Jigsaw provides. It is so important to me that I do not feel stagnant in my work, but that I feel I am encouraged to grow and provided with options that help make that possible. I feel I always have a lot of opportunity to discuss my work with young people in clinical supervision, and I also feel I have the freedom to discuss my own goals and hopes for my future career, and that these conversations are welcomed.

Another aspect of my work with Jigsaw that I enjoy is delivering training in the community. This week I will be co-facilitating a workshop in the community aimed at helping adults who work with young people to help them better understand youth mental health. It’s valuable and important work to help lower the stigma around youth mental health in Ireland, and I also like the opportunity to further develop my skillset.

One of the things that is most important to me in my work is that I can be authentic, and that I have freedom to use my skills and to work with young people in a way that best uses my training, clinical skills, and also my unique personality. I do not feel micro-managed in Jigsaw, but I do feel supported, which is key.

When I was growing up in The States my family did not have a lot of money and I know there were times when sitting down with someone and getting to have a chat about how I was feeling and some of the things I was going through would have helped so much, but my family just did not have access to that sort of thing. It means so much to me that I get to give to someone now, an experience that I really could have used growing up, and that it is available to them without the barrier of cost.

Finally, I really appreciate the people that I work with. This is serious work, but I can always depend on my colleagues to provide a bit of craic or even just to lend an ear if I want to talk something over.   

Read more from Violet Johnstone
Violet Johnstone

Violet Johnstone

Clinical Support Worker at Jigsaw Dublin City

I qualified with a Masters in Social Work in UCC in 2014. I initially worked in Children in Care and then worked in CAMHS in Limerick for over two years. In my time in CAMHS I really enjoyed working with young people and I had built up a lot of training and experience in relation to working with young people. CAMHS is at the Secondary level and very much intervenes at the crisis stage. I was attracted to Jigsaw because its model is within the primary care level and Jigsaw’s goal is to intervene early, so as to prevent a young person’s difficulties becoming more enduring.

When I was first considering to work in Jigsaw the main questions that came to mind were in relation to the working of the transdisciplinary team, what my role within that team would be and my duties and responsibilities. As I was moving from the HSE questions in relation to my pension, annual leave and increments were areas that I had queries about. The preventative model of Jigsaw and its core values influenced my decision to take the job. The permanent position was also a very influencing factor.

A typical week in Jigsaw includes three to four appointments per day and there is always allocated time to write up case notes. During the week there is a mixture of meetings. On Monday morning we have a check in to discuss what is happening in the week, number of clinicians in hub, etc. We have our clinical team meeting every Wednesday morning and on Friday evenings there is always a meeting scheduled, ranging from a business process meeting where we discuss prominent issues that are coming up for clinicians to group supervision or in-house training. Clinicians also have fortnightly clinical supervision with the Clinical Coordinator and monthly line management meetings with the Project Manager.

Everyone within the team is very supportive and there is an open culture of discussing cases with team members and the Clinical Coordinator when required. There is a culture of transparency within the team and all information relevant to our work is communicated openly. Within the team I also feel supported in relation to clinical work and training.

As a Social Worker I feel my skills fit in well with the team. When I meet the young person I always locate them within their environment and have an awareness of the systemic element which may be contributing to their difficulties. The values of empowerment, social justice and working in collaboration with the young person are all values that I can apply in practice in Jigsaw.

The key differences that distinguish Jigsaw from other mental health services is the passion and values that clinicians have for their work, and the involvement of the Youth Advisory Panel, whose voices carry credence and weight within the service. 

Read more from Mary Scott
Mary Scott

Mary Scott

Clinical Support Worker at Jigsaw Cork

As a Clinical Psychologist, I felt that Jigsaw offered a great opportunity for my skills and insights to be valued and utilised in developing an evidence-based service. I’m delighted to be in a position of responsibility and to be taking a lead in the overseeing of clinical work and service processes. Another attraction of the post was that Jigsaw is actively interested in seeking out the opinions and experiences of young people in order to inform the service. I had been used to services that were informed almost entirely by professionals and management, whereas I was attracted to a service that actively sought out voices from young people themselves and from their communities in general.

A typical day in Jigsaw for a Clinical Coordinator offers a lot of variety! For me, it tends to start with some form of meeting with the team (regarding referrals or caseload or operations), ongoing communication with my leadership partner Gerry, some individual therapeutic sessions with young people, some form of supervision (group, peer, individual or my own), a talk or liaison piece with other local services and maybe a half hour for yoga at lunch time if I’m lucky! Once every few weeks I tend to travel to Dublin for a Jigsaw Learning Network of some description, which is a great way to link in with my peers in the national network.

I like how Jigsaw strives to be a progressive service. Ideas and change are a constant as the service is always reshaping itself to meet the demands and recommendations of young people, the community and the evidence base for effective practice. There is a regular communication loop between local, regional and national which I also value as you feel like your ideas and those of your team are always in the mixing pot as national policies and strategies take shape.

I have heard many people comment that the people who work in Jigsaw almost always seem to be a great fit. This is definitely my experience to date also. There seems to be an energy and general positive regard in each person that I have met in the organisation and seeing this on a daily basis at a local level gives me a great boost each day. Gerry and I try to put a large emphasis on the team culture in Jigsaw Limerick and we do our best to have each team member’s voice heard in all that we do. We hope that this contributes to the shared view that we can make a positive difference to the lives of people who need it; we feel this is reflected in the values of the service nationally.

Read more from Cian Aherne
Cian Aherne

Cian Aherne

Clinical Coordinator at Jigsaw Limerick.

I have been a Mental Health Nurse for 25 years. I came to Jigsaw because it gave me an opportunity to step out of a hospital setting and to return to the community I grew up in. I was very attracted to Jigsaw’s vision for youth mental health and feel that we are truly changing that landscape by providing primary care interventions to young people that are accessible, free and integrated within their local schools and communities.

Research, audit and evaluation are weaved into everything that we do. We can access live information about our service at any given time that helps to inform practice. This is very attractive to me as a senior clinician who is also involved in service development.

Young people are highly involved in the planning and development of all our services. This really helps to keep us relevant in terms of what young people need and want and fresh and innovative in our approach.

Jigsaw operates a transdisciplinary model which I have found creates a culture of equality and comradery. It is very refreshing to work within teams that openly share their expertise to reach consensus around best practise. Discussion and debate are welcomed and help to drive our service and strong governance structures.  

A shared leadership approach to governance means that it is more collaborative and inclusive than traditional models of management and change can be more readily initiated from the ground up. Supervision is built in to all of our governance structures and is a very welcome space to tease out any concerns that arise.

As Clinical Coordinator I work in partnership with a Project Manager. We are responsible for the ongoing development and implementation of the Jigsaw service in Offaly. We ensure the day to day running of the service and develop engagement that focuses on integrating Jigsaw into our community.

I provide clinical governance and clinical supervision to the local team. I also contribute to service development, policy making and clinical governance nationally through Jigsaw Learning Networks and other shared platforms.

Senior clinical roles that allow for a small caseload to be maintained are often only available within CNS or ANP pathways in nursing. I feel that maintaining a small caseload is very valuable to me in my role and certainly made this role more attractive to me personally. It helps me to remain focused on what our service is all about. It gives me an opportunity to work directly with young people and it helps me to stay connected with why I became a nurse in the first place. I have also completed an MSc in CBT so it means I can continue to maintain my psychotherapy work.

Jigsaw is a rapidly growing, dynamic and exciting place to work. It challenges me to practice to a high standard but also allows the freedom to be creative and influence the direction of our service. I feel very proud to be a part of a service that strives to become weaved into the fabric of Irish society and change how Ireland thinks about, engages with and nurtures young people’s mental health.

Read more from Vanessa Dowling
Vanessa Dowling

Vanessa Dowling

Clinical Coordinator at Jigsaw Offaly

I came to Jigsaw having worked for a number of years in CAMHS. I am a registered Social Worker and Systemic Psychotherapist and brought extensive experience of working therapeutically with young people and families in a specialist mental health service setting. At first I was employed as the Clinical Coordinator in Jigsaw Clondalkin where I learned about the day-to-day operations of a primary care level youth mental health service and got to experience being the lead clinician on site. It was my first formal leadership role and I particularly enjoyed working in collaboration with the Project Manager, along with supervising front-line clinicians from a range of disciplinary backgrounds.

Subsequently, as Jigsaw grew, the Clinical Governance Manager role was created and I was successful when I applied. Jigsaw has a strong track record in providing opportunities for advancement to staff. I am now based in our National Office in Dublin City Centre but travel frequently to visit Jigsaw services.

As Clinical Governance Manager, I experience great diversity within my role, with clinical oversight of specific Jigsaw services balanced with project and service development work. Some recent highlights include: chairing interview panels; supervising and line managing Clinical Coordinators; providing induction for new clinicians and local leadership teams; presenting at an international conference on youth mental health; leading a workshop on values with the whole staff group; collaborating on the development of our youth participation programme; supporting teams managing change; contributing to the development of appropriate key performance indicators; liaising with the HSE on interagency work; consulting young people and parents in relation to the development of our new strategic plan; and exploring options for new premises for Jigsaw services.

As an organisation Jigsaw is dynamic, evolving and always seeking to progress. Personally, I am looking to develop my skills further through the completion of an M.Sc. in Healthcare Management with RCSI, which Jigsaw is supporting. There is enormous commitment to our work from all staff members and a real emphasis on working collaboratively, both internally and externally. Jigsaw is a fast-paced work environment and this can be challenging but colleagues are incredibly supportive and the results are truly satisfying and worthwhile.

Read more from Paul Longmore
Paul Longmore

Paul Longmore

Clinical Governance Manager

I'm an Occupational Therapist, having graduated from the University of Wales College of Medicine in 2000. Before coming to Jigsaw I worked in a range of mental health settings, from in-patient to day hospital to community and at primary care level. Having seen the potential impact of poor mental health on people’s lives, I really value the opportunity to intervene early, and working with young people provides a fantastic opportunity to do this. The focus on proactive prevention of poor mental health/ building resilience and early intervention leads to a sense that I am making a difference to the lives of young people in my job, which is very rewarding.

I knew little about Jigsaw prior to starting with the organisation, and had not worked in the charity sector before. I had some apprehensions about what the clinical governance structure might be and the stability/ terms and conditions of employment. What I have found is an organisation with a very strong core of clinical governance, yet a flat structure from an organisational point of view, which means good communication with key decision makers in the organisation and the flexibility to influence and implement changes fairly easily compared to statutory services. This brings great variety to my role. I could be seeing young people therapeutically one day, supervising clinicians, planning local service development and then the next day I might be sitting in national office with colleagues from around the country discussing future directions and strategy implementation.

With regards to terms and conditions, because Jigsaw has funding from the HSE, I haven’t felt that my job is insecure in any way. There are some differences compared to statutory services, but I find that Jigsaw is generally flexible and supportive as an employer. There is a big focus on CPD, with time and funding available for individual development, as well as an excellent suite of centralised training, which sees recognised trainers coming in to deliver bespoke training to all the clinicians in the organisation.

In my role as Clinical Coordinator I work very closely with the Project Manager to lead the service at a local level. The Project Manager has responsibility for line management of clinicians and the day to day running of the hub, and I have responsibility for clinical supervision and clinical governance. In reality, we need to work very closely together to ensure that we deliver a safe and effective service. We jointly plan how to develop links and partnerships across other services, how to promote mental health in the schools and communities we work in, and how to support the clinical team in the management and provision of therapeutic support for young people.

As an Occupational Therapist I have found working in a transdisciplinary model to be positive. There are no professional hierarchies and my input as an OT is welcomed as much as any of the other disciplines. I have gained a lot of insight through supervising and being supervised by people from different professional backgrounds. This way of working has also strengthened the value I place on my own profession. Discipline-specific group supervision has meant that there is a strong sense of professional identity for OTs in the organisation, and we are well placed to take OTs students and contribute to the development of the profession.

Since working in Jigsaw, I have felt that the organisation really lives its values- it has a strong focus on research and evidence, it engages and listens to the voices of young people and aims to build strong links with the communities in which it works. I would recommend the role of Clinical Coordinator to anyone who is looking for a varied, challenging and rewarding job.

Read more from Jen Trzeciak
Jen Trzeciak

Jen Trzeciak

Clinical Coordinator at Jigsaw Clondalkin

My background is Social Work and my current role in Jigsaw Kerry is Senior Clinical Support Worker. What attracted me to Jigsaw was the opportunity to work in a preventative and early intervention service. The role is very varied. I work daily with young people on a therapeutic basis.  

There are initial screening appointments when the young person first comes to the service. If the young person is suitable for Jigsaw, then I complete an initial assessment to get an overview of their life and what is going well and not going so well. From there, I will work with the young person to identify and then achieve their goal using a mix of interventions and approaches depending on the young person’s goal and learning style. Part of this work often involves engaging with parents and guardians also. Social work values and skills really fit within the Jigsaw model. My role also involves deputising for the Clinical Coordinator and supporting other team members as required. 

Promoting the work that Jigsaw does is a consistent part of the role within the team by linking in with other organisations who support young people and families. Developing and maintaining strong professional working relationships is essential. 

Another aspect of the role is delivering mental health workshops in a range of community settings with my colleagues. From schools to sports clubs, it is great to engage with community members on the topic of mental health. There are also workshops for groups of volunteers and people who work with young people which I am involved in delivering. This part of the role has really helped to develop my confidence in relation to presenting and facilitation skills. 

Read more from Elaine O’Sullivan
Elaine O’Sullivan

Elaine O’Sullivan

Senior Clinical Support Worker at Jigsaw Kerry

Current Vacancies – Start your search today

Services Team Administrator
  • Position: Services Team Administrator
  • Location: Dublin 2

The Services Team Administrator will have responsibility for day to day admin support, primarily for the Director of Services and Clinical Director, to ensure efficient programme delivery.

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Clinical Manager (fixed purpose)
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The Clinical Manager is the mental health lead for the local Jigsaw service, providing clinical leadership across the therapeutic support service.

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Youth and Community Engagement Worker
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  • Location: South West Dublin

The role of Youth and Community Engagement Worker is to ensure young people have the supports they require to fully participate in the local Jigsaw service.

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This role will develop and drive the IT support function in all areas of Jigsaw’s work in order to deliver on our mission.

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Responsible, along with colleagues in the finance team for the smooth running of a busy finance function for Jigsaw and a network of local Jigsaw services located throughout Ireland.

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