SEVENTY-FIVE per cent of adult mental health diagnosis begin at childhood and adolescence according to JIGSAW Project Manager Gerard Linnane.
Mr Linnane said that the organisation was built around helping the younger members of society deal with mental health issues and problems.
“If we can encourage young people to get help when a small bit of help will do, then it is better for them, it is better for the community, the school and their families, and it is also better for us as a society,” he said.
The Jigsaw Project Manager said that it is often ordinary events like things at school that can affect certain young people in a negative way. He added that the impact of these events are subjective and differ from person to person.
“We all have our own mental health strengths and vulnerabilities. Something that may affect me in a way you could take it in your stride, and so it is important that each individual is supported to deal with their own mental health,” Mr Linnane said.
He added that a large number of young people deal with anxiety issues regarding school work and examinations, and also with difficulties at home like their relationships with their parents.
“It is right across the range like experiences with bullying obviously is an important one as well and has a significant impact on young people’s mental health,” Mr Linnane said.
JIGSAW was set up by Dr Tony Bates in 2006 after he noticed that the mental health services in Ireland were not geared towards engaging the younger people.
“He found that the situations were too clinical and that young people did not feel comfortable,” Mr Linnane said.
Young people are centrally involved in each of the JIGSAW services in the country and provide assistance to the JIGSAW personnel.
“These offices here were picked by young people, designed and decorated by young people,” Mr Linnane said.
JIGSAW aim to normalise the scenario where a young person feels lost and to send out the message that they are not the only person dealing with that situation.
“Not to dismiss what you are saying, but what they are experiencing is not something that is wrong with them, but rather a normal reaction to a situation that is not normal for them,” Mr Linnane said.
He also added that the river Shannon in Limerick has for a long time been associated with poor mental health and is not a positive indicator.
“We want to say that the river in Limerick is about positive mental health – it is good for exercise, walking around the river, great for wildlife, great for taking time in contemplation, so there is a lot of positive mental health components to it,” Mr Linnane added.
The Shannon Light on the River event that took place on October 9 originated from a member of JIGSAW’s youth advisory panel which the Limerick Mental Health Week association took on.
JIGSAW conducted a survey in 2012 called the ‘My World Survey’ regarding mental health among the young community. They have begun to role out questionnaires for the ‘My World Survey 2’ and aim at interviewing more than 20,000 young people.
“When we did it in 2012, social media did not really feature very highly on that, but a lot has happened in the last 6 years so it will interesting to see what emerges there,” Mr Linnane said.
JIGSAW Limerick is located inside Arthur’s Quay and interested persons can contact them on (061) 974 510.