I have improved a lot of aspects of my life by coming to Jigsaw.

A quote from a young person who attended Jigsaw
for support with their mental health

Influencing Change

Public policy and conversation Research and evidence Communicating about prevention and early intervention Youth Advisory Panel profile

In Jigsaw we work closely with policy makers and politicians to increase conversation and understanding of how best to support young people’s mental health.

Influencing public policy
and conversation

Jigsaw’s objective is to provide a strong voice in influencing public policy and conversation, with a number of aims over the lifetime of our strategy and beyond to:

  • amplify the voice and experience of young people in public debate and conversation on youth mental health
  • develop and deliver a public affairs strategy with a series of key recommendations, asks and desired outcomes on funding and policy
  • develop a series of public positions in areas of specific relevance to young people’s mental health

In 2018 Jigsaw looked to deliver on these aims through a range of activities and events, including:

Public affairs strategy
Throughout 2018 work began on the development of a public affairs strategy. This aims to further clarify our public positions, asks, and desired outcomes for key decision and policy makers to support the delivery of our vision of an Ireland where every young person’s mental health is valued and supported.

We identified a need to further build and maintain a strong reputation with a breadth of key decision and policy makers in order to positively influence public policy and decision making relating to young people’s mental health.

Through the strategy we will look to continue to build our relationships, and move forward awareness and understanding of our strategic objectives, with two primary stakeholder groups:

1. Elected representatives, including relevant senior and junior ministers in power and opposition, and relevant Seanad members

2. Senior civil servants, including relevant staff in the HSE, Department of Education and Skills, and others as necessary

Work will continue throughout 2019 to finalise identifying our set of asks and desired outcomes, prior to delivery through a series of activities and events with the identified stakeholder groups.

I liked being able to talk about my feelings with nobody judging me

A quote from a young person who attended
Jigsaw for support with their mental health

Jigsaw exchange
On Thursday 31st May 2018 at Mansion House, Dublin, we launched Jigsaw Exchange, an initiative providing a platform to discuss and share the latest developments, research and ideas in the area of youth mental health.

The Jigsaw Exchange series of events aim to educate, inform and collaborate with leading voices in mental health (nationally and internationally) seeking new perspectives on mental health, informed by the latest research and evidence. Through the series, Jigsaw will challenge assumptions, present evidence, air the voices of young people, influence decisions and work collectively with our partners to advance our vision for Ireland's young people.

For the first event we invited Dr Lucy Johnstone, co-author of the Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF), to be the keynote speaker. The framework, which was developed by a group of senior psychologists and mental health campaigners in the UK, was published by the British Psychological Society in January 2018. It offers a new perspective on why people experience mental distress. The framework applies not just to people who have been in contact with the mental health or criminal justice systems, but to all of us. It summarises and integrates a great deal of evidence about the role of various kinds of power in people’s lives, the kinds of threat that misuse of power pose to us and the ways we have learnt to respond to those threats.

Dr Johnstone’s talk was aimed at prompting critical conversations about the mental health system and the prevailing assumptions which underpin it, and was followed by a lively discussion with questions from a broad audience including a range of health professionals, young people and mental health advocates. This was the most successful public event ever held by Jigsaw with 400 people in attendance, with plans for the second in the series to be held in late 2019.

Submission to Joint Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care
In July 2017, the Joint Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care was established with the aim to achieve cross-party agreement on the implementation of a single, long-term vision for mental health care and the direction of mental health policy in Ireland. In January 2018, Jigsaw were invited to make a submission and in May 2018, to address the committee on the subject of youth mental health. In support of our strategic objectives, we highlighted the vital importance of early intervention and prevention in the delivery of an effective mental health care policy for Ireland.

The landscape for mental health provision and support in Ireland is complex and mapping out a new vision for the future of mental health is challenging. Integrated, joined-up thinking in the area of mental health remains, in the main, an aspiration. Recruitment and funding – identified as key themes by the committee - all come with issues.

While Jigsaw’s submission was broadly welcomed, we know there is still a long way to go in making sure that all young people who need support have access to it when they need it and in a way that works for them. We will continue to engage with policy makers and politicians to further influence decision making to deliver better mental health supports for young people.

Delivering robust research and evidence

Research and evidence helps to inform all our decisions in Jigsaw. We evaluate all of our services and supports to ensure they are effectively meeting the mental health needs of young people, and look to build a bank of material to help increase our collective understanding of youth mental health.

Our objective is to deliver robust research and evidence to better inform systems change and effective service delivery and to increase our collective understanding of youth mental health, with a number of aims over the lifetime of our strategy and beyond to:

  • develop and deliver a research strategy
  • continue to evaluate the Jigsaw model and share learnings to inform good practice in youth mental health
  • develop national and international research partnerships
  • publish My World Survey 2 by November 2019

In 2018 Jigsaw looked to deliver on these aims through a range of activities, including:

My World Survey 2
In early 2018, Jigsaw agreed with University College Dublin (UCD) a broad memorandum of agreement to work in partnership to advance the research and understanding of youth mental health in Ireland. This partnership allows for a variety of work with UCD as our academic partner.

The first fruits of the agreement will be a major piece of research on the mental health of young people across Ireland, My World Survey 2. A 15-month project, Jigsaw and UCD have been compiling the surveys and gathering data for My World Survey 2 since October 2018.

The original My World Survey was published in collaboration with UCD in 2012. It captured the views of over 14,000 young people, making it the most comprehensive study of youth mental health in Ireland. Among the most striking findings were:

  • almost 1 in 3 young people reported feelings of depression and anxiety
  • 21% of young adults reported that at some point in the last year they had engaged in deliberate self-harm
  • excessive alcohol use was reported by 58% of young people, aged 16 years plus. For these young adults, strong links were found between excessive drinking and suicidal behavior
  • 41% of adolescents reported having been bullied at some point in their lives
  • over 70% of young people reported that they had high or very high support from a supportive adult
  • over 10% of adolescents and 20% of young adults reported significant personal problems for which they felt they needed professional help, but did not seek it

My World Survey 2 will look to see how things have changed since the first study. Consulting with more than 15,000 young people, it aims to gain new insights into young people’s mental health from a risk and protective perspective within their social context.

Having a baseline from My World Survey 1 means that, for the first time ever, researchers will be able to comprehensively track changes, either improvements or deterioration, in young people’s mental health.

Not only will these findings form the foundation of programme development for Jigsaw’s early intervention approach, but they will also be used to help inform and influence youth mental health policy and practice in Ireland.

The results of My World Survey 2 will be published in November 2019.

Evaluating the Jigsaw model
Our services use an online data collection and case management system called the Jigsaw Data System. This allows us to conduct regular and comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analysis of our service delivery. High level summary data is shared publicly online at jigsaw.ie

In 2018 we successfully piloted a new measure for young people’s satisfaction with the Jigsaw services, which is to be fully introduced in early 2019.

Further evaluation data from Jigsaw’s Data System is highlighted in the strengthening communities and delivering services sections of this report.

Communicating about prevention and early intervention

Jigsaw’s objective is to communicate widely about our prevention and early intervention approach, with a number of aims over the lifetime of our strategy and beyond to:

  • Develop and deliver a communications strategy with a focus on prevention and early intervention
  • Deliver two national campaigns by December 2020

In 2018 Jigsaw looked to deliver on these aims through a range of activities and events directed by the implementation of our communications strategy.

Communications strategy
Jigsaw’s communications strategy has been developed to support Jigsaw’s vision of an Ireland where every young person’s mental health is valued and supported. Our core objective is to build upon and strengthen the awareness of Jigsaw and our prevention and early intervention approach. Launched in early 2017, the strategy has initiated and supported a number of activities throughout 2018, including:

  • a coordinated media campaign for our 2017 annual report that saw us achieve dedicated features on RTE Drivetime, and Pat Kenny’s Newstalk, along with extensive coverage in the Irish Independent, Irish Times, Irish Mail, and Irish Mirror
  • the development of targeted messaging for our Lidl Book of Listening campaign in partnership with Lidl. The campaign included national radio adverts, billboards, and over 150,000 copies of the Lidl Book of Listening being distributed to communities across Ireland
  • a 22% increase in print media coverage in comparison to 2017 - with over 465 individual pieces of coverage

The strategy also looks beyond 2020 to the future, with an objective to embed across the organisation a more user-centred approach in how we communicate.

To track and measure the impact of the strategy, in January 2018 Jigsaw completed research that set a range of benchmarks for evaluating and measuring brand awareness. This was followed by further research in December 2018 to enable comparative analysis, showing that during 2018:

  • Jigsaw has seen a doubling in spontaneous awareness among Irish adults, rising to 8% from 4%
  • Jigsaw has seen a strong increase in prompted awareness among Irish adults, rising to 34% from 26%
  • trust in Jigsaw has risen to 35% (up 11% on previous research), and is highest among those aged 18-34
  • ‘young people’ and ‘mental health’ were the top words associated with Jigsaw, which is well aligned to the brand

Youth Advisory Panel profile: Royanne McGregor

Royanne, 21, is currently studying applied psychology in University College Cork and hopes to work as a clinical psychologist with young people.

‘As an adolescent I experienced a lot of diffculties with my mental health. I remember being diagnosed with anxiety and didn’t have a clue what that was!’

‘The importance of early intervention is huge. Research has proven that early intervention is a key factor in recovery. Jigsaw’s service is friendly, welcoming and youth focused. I believe it is breaking down huge barriers for young people and making asking for help easier.’

‘I like to think of the Youth Advisory Panel as a compass, the panel is the information and feedback point for Jigsaw. We have a say in the running of Jigsaw from decorating the services so they’re appealing and welcoming to young people, to interviewing staff and everything in between, our job is to ensure the service meets the needs and desires of young people.’

‘When I was experiencing difficulties, I decided to turn a negative into a positive and use my experience to help others, and working with Jigsaw was the best way. I understand how hard it can be to ask for help, and being able to help Jigsaw keep their service youth focused is great. Asking for help is hard and anxiety provoking, but I feel Jigsaw’s approach reduces that anxiety and embraces the young person.’

‘Becoming part of the Youth Advisory Panel was one of the best things to ever happen to me, it’s helped me grow as a person and also fulfilled my desire to ensure the voices of young people are heard. Asking for help takes courage and those seeking help deserve to be ordered a supportive friendly and caring environment. Young people are our future after all.’

When I was experiencing difficulties, I decided to turn a negative into a positive and use my experience to help others, and working with Jigsaw was the best way.

Royanne McGregor, Youth Advisory Panel, Jigsaw.