By Cate McCurry, PA
A new mental health strategy will have a “real and profound” impact on young people and communities across Ireland, a charity’s youth advocate has said.
Jude Pierse, a youth advocate for the mental health charity Jigsaw, said that young people today have to adapt constantly to changes, social pressures and Covid-19.
The organisation launched its plan for the next four years which is aimed at reaching more young people.
The Together strategy sets out how Jigsaw will provide access to mental health support and information.
Delighted to have Taoiseach @MichealMartinTD and @MaryButlerTD, launch our new strategy today at Government Buildings. 'Together' sets out our plan for the next four years. Read more and download strategy here: https://t.co/6ccAnnpjC4 pic.twitter.com/Jl8GkbevFF
— JigsawYMH (@JigsawYMH) October 14, 2021
Mr Pierse, a volunteer with the charity, said the programme will have a “profound” impact on young people.
“Jigsaw has an established history of youth participation and this is further reinforced in this strategy,” he said.
“Jigsaw acknowledges the potential of young people in the Together strategy, it acknowledges that young people have the ability and the right to be involved in decisions that affect them.
“It acknowledges that young people like myself are experts by experience.
“This strategy understands that our voice can change things for the better.
“Today, young people have to adapt constantly, adapt to Covid-19, the latest social pressures, what’s cool and what’s not.
“For some, education, work, sports and home life is a safe haven, for others it is navigated with great difficulty.
“A lot of young people will today experience the worst of social deprivation across communities, and this strategy sets out to change that by providing better mental health outcomes.
“I also welcome efforts from Jigsaw to diversify the workforce providing representation for young people from minorities.
“While I’m very much optimistic about this strategy, we will all need to come together to ensure that when people reflect on this strategy in years to come, change can be seen.
Pleased to launch @JigsawYMH’s new strategy with @MaryButlerTD
Jigsaw has been an innovative partner in improving mental wellbeing of young people for 15 years.
Significant progress has been made, and much remains to be done.
I wish them continued success in the coming years. pic.twitter.com/G50Brbb6VF
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) October 14, 2021
“Collectively, there is responsibility on all of us to see this through.”
Taoiseach Micheal Martin said that programmes in primary and secondary schools should be focused on building self-esteem and self-confidence from an early age.
He said this is the most effective way of equipping children and young people to face the pressures of society, including the “extraordinary pressure” of social media.
“That’s one strategy that has to be sustained and constantly reviewed in terms of how we build up resilience,” Mr Martin said.
“Essentially giving people the inner strength to take on board whatever comes their way, either physically in a setting or in terms of peer pressures or in terms of online media.
“That helps people deal with addiction and deal with bullying, it helps people deal with a range of issues.”
Minister of State for Mental Health Mary Butler said there are approximately 2,700 children waiting for a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) appointment.
About 78 per cent of children are seen within 12 weeks.
“We also have another waiting list which is child care psychology, and that is way more problematic,” Ms Butler added.
“There’s over 10,000 children waiting on that list since last year.
“Over 5,000 of those children are waiting in excess of 12 months.”