Service Development - Jigsaw

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Jigsaw is Headstrong's innovative service development programme, youth-friendly projects that bring community services and supports together to better meet young people's mental health needs.


In 2006, we asked thousands of young people what they needed to better support their mental health on their journey into adulthood. Based on what they told us, we went in search of best-practice models from all over the world that are successfully addressing the mental health and wellbeing needs of young people. We developed a model that is specific to the unique context in Ireland, and to each individual community. This model is called Jigsaw.

Young people themselves are an integral part of developing the Jigsaw project locally. This gives young people a voice in the change process, and ensures that the changes made are relevant to young people in that community and helps reduce the stigma that so often discourages young people from seeking help.

Developing Jigsaw

While there are several core elements in every Jigsaw project, every community is unique, and Jigsaw takes this into account by identifying local needs and resources.Jigsaw is currently in ten sites around Ireland in Clondalkin, Donegal, Dublin 15, North Fingal, Galway, Kerry, Meath, Offaly, Roscommon and Tallaght.

The core elements common to all Jigsaw projects include:

  • the availability of appropriate premises and staffing
  • comprehensive training
  • meaningful youth engagement and participation
  • a systematic planning process
  • an interagency management structure
  • clinical governance processes
  • integration with the primary and specialist mental health system, and commitment from the local HSE
  • use of the Jigsaw online information management system for tracking and evaluation, and evidence-based approaches to practice