Children’s Books Ireland launch reading guide

The Covid-19 pandemic is a considerable source of worry for children and families. Young people are having to cope with big changes at home and at school.

In response, Children’s Books Ireland, in partnership with Jigsaw and ISPCC Childline, launched “Mind yourself – the mental health and wellbeing reading guide” on Monday, 5th October ahead of World Mental Health Day.

World Mental Health Day, 10th October is an international event that promotes mental health education and awareness. A recent UNICEF report found that children and young people in Ireland are struggling with their mental health.

In a survey of 38 OCED countries, Ireland is number 26 when it comes to the mental wellbeing of children. Books can provide comfort to readers during a difficult time. There is robust evidence to support that reading for pleasure can have a positive effect on mental wellbeing.

Ask Jigsaw: Guilty for feeling sad

when I feel a negative feeling like anger, sadness or loneliness. I always feel so guilty and overall stupid for having those feelings because I know that I have had a pretty okay life compared to those who in the world who have suffered from so much pain and hurt that they didn’t deserve.

But I was just wondering is it normal to feel your feelings are not valid and unimportant? I just think I have always had some sort of just a numbness in my heart that I’ve just gotten used to, so any different feeling to that numb feeling is followed by guilt. I am grateful that I’m here everyday though. Just its something I think about all the time and I had to ask. Thank You


Hi Chico093,

I can tell from your question that you are a very thoughtful, caring, self-aware person. Your question is actually something we hear a good bit at Jigsaw and something that many young people struggle with.

Ask Jigsaw: Frustrated and lonely

I feel very frustrated and lonely most of the time because i can’t express my problems to anyone i know. At school i only have one or two friends that im not that close to, and i cant tell my family either because ive tried to, but they dont understand me and it frustrates me.

Even if i had close friends, i wouldnt want to open up because in previous friendships it hasnt helped me (to open up) and they never understand anyway.

The problems are about being really anxious, feeling sad and disoriented very often and a lot of negative feelings. I feel lonely because its like im on my own and i cant turn to anyone for help


Ask Jigsaw: Am I wasting my youth?

Why do I feel like I am wasting my youth? My entire family has struggled with massive drug and alcohol addiction so I try to stay away from it, but it feels like I’m wasting my youth. I’m so afraid that I’m going to look back at this time in my life and be full of regret. 


Hi Elle,  

Worrying about future regrets can have a big impact on the choices we make in the moment. The fear of regret can make us question even our strongest values.  

School avoidance

The majority of young people face challenges at some point throughout their schooling.

Common difficulties can occur in the following areas: learning and curriculum, social and peer related and/or the physical environment.

For the most part, young people overcome these challenges and school provides positive, enjoyable experiences. However, for a number of young people, school can cause a significant amount of distress. This leads to difficulty attending school.

If your young person is currently experiencing difficulty attending school, this article covers the following:

Ask Jigsaw: Life not the same since bereavement

Ever since my niece died my life hasn’t been the same, I’ve always been quiet lonely and now it’s even worse I feel useless all the time and my life is a chore. i realised one of the only reason I’m living was for her I don’t know what to do anymore


Hi Turtle,

I am so sorry for the loss of your niece. Grief is a really tough emotion and can take more time than we might realise to work through. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. You can read more about grief and loss here.


Ask Jigsaw: Gap year decision

I decided to take a gap year from starting college because of Covid causing everything to be online. I just feel like a coward who ran away as soon as the going got tough. But I just wanted to connect with people and be in the atmosphere of it all.

I’ve always felt trapped within myself, like I’m the audience watching characters in a scene and I can’t break that barrier. Doing College online only amplified this feelings as I was literally watching a screen.

I’m just afraid I made this choice out of fear. I was doing the course out of fear of not doing it and now I’m not doing the course out of fear of doing it. My family supported my decision and I felt brave for telling them how I felt but a part of me still feels like a coward and a failure and I’m afraid I’m going to waste this year and I’ll regret this decision in the future.


Hi Cole,

There are many reasons for delaying the start of your studies or training after school. Making a decision to wait until you can fully engage in the college experience is brave. It sounds like it was one that you and your family put some thought into, so trust yourself.