Damien Coyle’s C.L.A.N.G. challenge

Damien Coyle, Service Manager for Jigsaw Donegal, is taking on the C.L.A.N.G. challenge to raise funds and awareness for youth mental health. 

Over the 6-10 July, Damien is doing C.L.A.N.G. with Jigsaw. He will ConnectLearn, get Active, take Notice and Give, the 5 a day for his mental health, while running 252 KM. That’s 6 marathons in 5 days! 

Starting off in Jigsaw Galway, Damien will run past Jigsaw Offaly, Jigsaw Dublin city, to finish in Jigsaw Bray. But, Damien wants to visit all 14 Jigsaw services, and that’s a 1,200 KM round trip. So just like our mental health sometimes, he can’t go it alone.

We need your help…

Body image and mental health

Body image is the way we feel about how we look. Most of us experience dissatisfaction with how we see our body at different points in our life.

Very few people are 100% confident about their appearance at all times. However, if the way we feel about our body starts to impact what we do in a negative way, we need to address this.

Difficulty with body image affects people of any gender. In today’s society, there’s a focus on physical appearance and the ‘perfect body’ and social media can emphasise this.

Scrolling through Instagram and making comparisons between ourselves and what we see is very common. This can distort our sense of body image, creating unrealistic expectations of how we should look.

Feeling pressure

Life can feel full of pressure sometimes. Especially while we figure out who we are, what we want, and how we want our lives to be.

Young people who come to Jigsaw often talk to us about the pressure they’re feeling. Some of the things they feel pressure from include:

  • Fitting in – Having to change who they are to be included in a group.
  • Supporting friends – Feeling they have to respond to friends’ difficulties, even when it interferes with their own wellbeing.
  • Conforming – Falling in with an education system that feels unfair and out of line with everything else in their life.
  • Performing well in exams – Comparing results and achievements.
  • Competing and doing well in sports or other hobbies – This can be to the point where they no longer enjoy it.
  • Future plans – Feeling they should know what career path to choose.
  • Fulfilling the expectations of others – Living up to the expectations of parents. Or matching the achievements of siblings.


In the last few years, cyberbullying has become an umbrella term for lots of negative behaviour online.

What is cyberbullying?

Essentially cyberbullying is bullying online, and it can take many different forms. Sometimes it is easily recognisable and others not so much.

It can be 24/7 with seemingly nowhere to get away from it. One of the drawbacks of the connectivity in our pockets is we’re always accessible.

Generally, cyberbullying doesn’t happen in isolation. It tends to be a part of traditional bullying. The bully is often someone known to the person on the receiving end of it. This is even if the activity seems to be done anonymously.

Cyberbullying can take obvious forms such as name calling, putting someone down or abusive comments on posts, images or videos. Then there are less obvious forms, only really felt and understood by the person on the receiving end of it.

Stress and young people

Stress is the body’s way of rising to a challenging situation. Everyone experiences stress at times and it can’t be avoided entirely. Learning to manage stress is what makes all the difference.

Stress can be positive and motivate us to prepare for events. But when we have too much it can seem as if it’s taking over.

Too much stress can make teens or young adults feel panicked or overwhelmed. When this happens, managing it becomes a challenge

In this article, you will find:

Social media, self-esteem and young people

Increasing reports of the negative impact of social media on young people’s self-esteem cannot be ignored, but are they true?

A number of popular social media platforms with different functions are now used by young people in Ireland. We are connected more than ever before and that connectivity causes concern for some parents.

Young people’s use of technology

Technology, as they say, is neutral, these are really tools to enable communication and entertainment.

The evidence to support the negative impact on young people’s mental health seems to come in thick and fast. Though there is plenty of evidence to say the contrary.

Social media allows people to connect with like-minded people, no matter where they are. This can be of great comfort and an outlet for young people. It can also allow a platform for self-expression.

Unfortunately, it has also become a place where young people can continuously compare themselves against a benchmark. Some young people can get caught in the trap of gaining their self-worth from a numbers game of likes, shares and follows.


Screen time and young people

The term ‘screen time’ gets bandied about quite a bit. When the phrase is linked with young people, reports are often negative.

Recently with restrictions due to the pandemic, it is likely that screen time has increased across the board. However, the term itself is quite misleading as not all screen time is equal.

The media often covers studies linking teen depression and screen time, or young people’s use of social media and anxiety.

However, recent studies have challenged the way these studies were conducted. Researchers from the University of Oxford have stated that the use of phones, tablets and laptops is no worse for teenagers’ mental health than eating more potatoes.

That’s not to underestimate concerns you may have if there are huge fights about turning the Wi-Fi off. Being on the receiving end of grunts from behind a phone day in, day out can cause a lot of frustration for parents.

In this article you will find:

Self-care for parents

Often as parents, all your focus and attention can go on making sure your young people are alright. Understandably, they are your first priority. But with this focus, it can be easy to lose sight of your own self-care needs.

Looking after your own mental health tends to come last on the long list of things to do. While this is understandable, it isn’t sustainable or useful in the long run. To be able to support young people effectively, parents need to be in a good place themselves.

Lockdown has been very tough due to Covid-19. As restrictions ease, self-care really needs to be part of your weekly routine.

What does One Good Adult mean?

Launched in 2019, Jigsaw and UCD’s My World Survey 2 asked young people if there was a special adult in their lives. This was an adult they could turn to when they were in need.

76% of young people had at least one adult they could talk to when they needed support. Having this person in their lives was linked to better overall mental health.

What difference does One Good Adult make?

Young people who reported having one good adult tended to have:

  • Increased self-esteem
  • More success in school life
  • Better mental health
  • More likely to seek help
  • Less risk taking behaviours.

Not having One Good Adult was linked to higher levels of distress, anti-social behaviour and increased risk for suicidal behaviour. One Good Adults are crucial to helping young people do well and to flourish.