In 2021 we were needed more than ever

In 2021 we were needed more than ever

Monday, 19 September 2022

Thousands more young people are seeking mental health support in the wake of Covid and the cost-of-living crisis.


In 2021 we offered an increased number of appointments to young people, while also receiving our highest ever number of referrals.

  • Referrals to our community-based services were up by 24%
  • A 54% increase of appointments offered
  • 104% increase in demand for online Live Chat service
  • 144% increase in demand for email support.

The cost-of-living crisis is deepening financial hardship for many people across Ireland with rising expenses including rent, fuel and food. The impact of financial hardship and poverty on mental health are well documented, and are backed up by our own research showing financial difficulties as one of the top stressors for young people.

We are concerned that, at a time when young people already face significant challenges to their mental health, growing pressure on mental health support services means that all too often young people are facing the additional anxiety of increasing wait times with limited support options.

Sam Kelly
Trinity College student and a Jigsaw volunteer Youth Advocates, says:
“At the end of 2019, I remember being so excited for the year ahead. I was going to finish my Leaving Cert, and have my first year in college. Two years later, it’s hard to keep track of all the missed milestones - no school graduation; a debs restricted to 30 people; and a first year of college spent in my parents’ house doing classes…

I can see the stress that Covid and now the cost-of-living is putting on the people I know, and the worry and hardship it’s causing. As young people, if we need help today and ask for it, it’s no good to find ourselves waiting. That’s just another stress. If we are looking for support today, it’s because we need it today. Not in six or whatever months’ time, that is just too late.”


In response, we have looked for new ways to offer mental health support. In the last twelve months we have

  • Opened a fourteenth community-based service in Tipperary
  • Launched our Schools Hub online service
  • Expanded our One Good School™ initiative to even more schools
  • Continued to add to information and support online through jigsaw.ie.


The serious gaps in Ireland’s mental health supports clearly exposed by Covid and the cost-of-living crisis have been a long-time in the making, and will need serious long-term investment to address.


Dr Joseph Duffy
Chief Executive Officer at Jigsaw says:
“The past year has highlighted, once again, that mental health services and supports in Ireland are under significant pressure. While it is encouraging to see young people reaching out for support, at Jigsaw we are increasingly concerned about the rising levels of demand across mental health support services, and the all too clear impact that we see it having on young people’s lives.

A shortage of trained mental health professionals, not just in Jigsaw, but in the wider mental health services, continues to stretch limited resources and is impacting on the timely support we wish to offer.

At Jigsaw, we believe in early intervention and prevention, and have long argued that communities are an area where so much more must be done to support young people’s mental health. Far more attention needs to be devoted to preventing mental ill-health, rather than simply intervening as it arises. Schools, sports clubs, local businesses, all the groups and organisations that make up our local communities can make a huge difference in tackling poor mental health.

At Jigsaw, we are here to make sure that young people get the help and support they need and deserve. So we are urging the government to prioritise investment now to provide the standard of mental health support that our communities and our young people deserve.”



We want to share the story of our work with you in our Annual Report for 2021.

Thank you to our volunteers, supporters, and employees for all you have done. In 2021, we continued to work together to give young people the mental health support they need and we will continue to do so into the future.

For further information contact:

Mike Mansfield, Director of Communications & Fundraising
086 1409165


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