- 22 Sep 22
Jigsaw’s research indicated a significant number of people experiencing mental health problems prior to the pandemic and cost of living crisis.
Mental health charity Jigsaw has warned of a major increase in young people accessing their services as a result of the pandemic, accommodation and cost of living crises. Jigsaw also released research revealing the skyrocketing percentage of young women in particular who are experiencing depression this year in Ireland.
The charity’s annual report revealed that Jigsaw had received its highest ever number of referrals in the past year from young people, while demand for appointments had risen by almost 25 per cent.
The organisation is concerned that, at a time when young people already face significant challenges to their mental health, growing pressure on support services means that all too often, those under the age of 25 are facing the additional worry of increasing wait times - plus huge costs of therapy and treatment.
Many young people using Jigsaw’s services have reported symptoms such as low mood, depression, negative self-esteem and increased feelings of anxiety and isolation.
Financial difficulty is one of the greatest contributing factors towards poor mental health in young people, according to the report and Jigsaw's management.
Demand for Jigsaw’s online Live Chat Service more than doubled in the past year, increasing 104 per cent, while there was also a 144 per cent increase in demand for its email support. Jigsaw said this “worrying” trend is reflected across Ireland’s mental health support services.
However, in 2021 Jigsaw received its highest-ever number of referrals.
“We are increasingly concerned about the rising levels of demand across mental health support services,” said Dr Joseph Duffy, @CEO_JigsawYMH .
Read more: https://t.co/EY3gtS5Ux5 pic.twitter.com/HXJTLMZhyd
— JigsawYMH (@JigsawYMH) September 20, 2022
In February, the HSE’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) reported a 40 per cent increase in the number of children waiting to be seen by their services, while Pieta House reported a 20 per cent increase in demand in the first three months of this year.
CEO of Jigsaw, Dr Joseph Duffy, said: “While it is encouraging to see young people reaching out for support, at Jigsaw we are increasingly concerned about the rising levels of demand across mental health support services, and the all too clear impact that we see it having on young people’s lives.”
"A shortage of trained mental health professionals, not just in Jigsaw, but in the wider mental health services, continues to stretch limited resources and is impacting on the timely support we wish to offer.
"At Jigsaw, we believe in early intervention and prevention, and have long argued that communities are an area where so much more must be done to support young people’s mental health," Dr Duffy added. "Far more attention needs to be devoted to preventing mental ill-health, rather than simply intervening as it arises. Schools, sports clubs, local businesses, all the groups and organisations that make up our local communities can make a huge difference in tackling poor mental health.
"At Jigsaw, we are here to make sure that young people get the help and support they need and deserve. So we are urging the government to prioritise investment now to provide the standard of mental health support that our communities and our young people deserve,” Dr Duffy said.
Sam Kelly, a youth volunteer within Jigsaw, also contributed to the research and outlined his personal experience with mental health since the onset of the pandemic.
“It’s hard to keep track of all the missed milestones - no school graduation; a debs restricted to 30 people; and a first year of college spent in my parents’ house doing classes," Kelly explained. "I can see the stress that Covid and now the cost-of-living is putting on the people I know, and the worry and hardship it’s causing.”
Further research from the ERSI also revealed that roughly 55 per cent of young women and 40 per cent of young men experienced depression so far this year, compared to 31 per cent and 22 per cent respectively in pre-pandemic times.
The last 12 months have seen the charity open a fourteenth community-based service in Tipperary and launch its Jigsaw Schools Hub offering online resources to schools.
Contact Jigsaw's live chat for those aged 12-25 here: jigsaw.ie/talk-online/live-chat/
Freephone Samaritans Ireland at 01 116 123.