The journey so far

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What is Headstrong?

Headstrong is The National Centre for Youth Mental Health - a non-profit organisation supporting young people's mental health in Ireland.

Clinical psychologist Dr Tony Bates founded Headstrong in 2006 in response to urgent and distressing need:

  • Suicide was the leading cause of death in young people
  • One in four young people felt they were going through difficult times, with no one to talk to
  • Families faced with youth self-harm, suicide attempts and high-risk behaviour believed they had nowhere to turn for help
  • Services for this most vulnerable segment of our population were often difficult to access, inappropriate or non-existent
  • How people in this country perceived youth mental health - myths, stigmas, misunderstandings, etc - was an obstacle to making real changes

Headstrong works with communities and statutory services to empower young people to develop the skills, self-confidence and resilience to cope with mental health challenges. Our vision is to give every young person in Ireland somewhere to turn to and someone to talk to. We also work with the government, media and direct community outreach to change the way Ireland thinks about youth mental health.

Directly Involving Young People

One of the problems identified in mental health services was that they were rarely youth-friendly. At Headstrong we involve young people directly in developing Jigsaw and other projects, and our Youth Advisory Panel is critical to informing and advising us and ensuring that young people's voices are central to decision-making on their behalf.

How we do it

Headstrong supports youth mental health in three distinct ways:

1. Service development (Jigsaw)  

... an innovative programme that works with communities to offer timely, accessible and appropriate, youth-friendly support for young people. 

2. Advocacy

... advocating on young people's behalf with the government, media, families and schools, as well as empowering young people to advocate for themselves.

3. Research

... our My World Survey - the first national study of youth mental health - is a powerful tool for future programme development, and we also conduct extensive research before introducing Jigsaw projects into communities

Get in Touch, Get Involved

Are you a young person looking for someone to talk to? Click here for help

We need your support. Do you want to help Headstrong give every young person in Ireland somewhere to turn to, someone to talk to?  Click here to contribute.

Want to learn more about Headstrong? Contact us today