Limerick youth mental health charity offers over 2,000 appointments amid massive demand

Jigsaw Youth Mental Health Service

A YOUTH mental health charity has warned that Ireland’s mental health services will become “more stretched than ever before” due to a lack of funding and an increase in demand.

At the launch of their annual report, Jigsaw said that in 2022 they offered the highest number of appointments ever to young people struggling with mental health issues.

Last year, the charity offered 36,360 appointments to young people across the country.

Jigsaw also saw a huge increase in the demand for online services, with a 104 per cent increase in visits to its website in 2022, totalling over one million visits.

Cian Ahern, Clinical Manager at Jigsaw Limerick, said: “What is clear from our data is that we are working to maximum capacity. In 2022, across our Limerick services we had 480 referrals and offered 2,616 appointments.”

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

“Across Jigsaw’s services we are seeing an increase in demand, and as we seek to grow and offer more support, our challenge is to keep up. Worryingly, this is part of a wider trend reflected across Ireland’s mental health support services. Put simply, it is not sustainable,” he said.

Jigsaw have said that they will look for ways to continue to expand their services to find new ways of offering mental health supports.

The charity is now calling on the Government to act on its warning and ensure that there is enough funding and that the plans are in place for the mental health services and supports for young people need.

Dr Joseph Duffy, Chief Executive Officer at Jigsaw, added: “If we are to respond to this growing demand, something has to give.”

“The current levels of funding, received from the HSE and the public, are simply not enough to maintain existing levels of service, let alone support expansion into new areas or new locations.

“Increased funding for youth mental services must be made available in Budget 2024.  Without it, our services, already stretched and under-resourced, will become overwhelmed,.

“The past year has highlighted, once again, that mental health services and supports in Ireland are under significant pressure. A shortage of multi-annual funding for mental health is stifling ambition and the development of sustainable solutions that are needed now,” Dr Duffy concluded.