Description and outcome evaluation of Jigsaw: An emerging Irish mental health early intervention programme for young people

Presentation First Author: 
Robert Illback

Background/Aims: The transition to adulthood represents a critical period which influences mental health problems, but access to and utilisation of mental health services by young people is poor. Jigsaw is an early intervention mental health service developed by Headstrong which provides support to young people, aged 12-25 years, in ten communities across Ireland. This presentation provides a profile of the young people who engaged with Jigsaw in one calendar year and presents preliminary findings regarding the effectiveness of this rapidly developing service.

Methods: Data about young people (n = 2,420) who received support through Jigsaw in 2013 were captured through an online data system. For the purposes of this presentation demographic details, including age, gender, presenting issues and referral pathways are described. Information about participants’ pre- and post-intervention levels of distress, captured using the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation (CORE) measures, is also detailed.

Results: A gender balance was almost observed among participants, the majority of whom were between 15-17 years old. The most common presenting issues varied across age groups and gender, with anxiety emerging as the top presenting issue. The most common referral sources to Jigsaw were self, parent, general practitioner (GP), school and adult mental health services (AMHS). Many participants reported high levels of psychological distress pre-intervention and levels of distress were significantly lower post-intervention.

Conclusions: This presentation provides emerging evidence that Jigsaw is an accessible and effective service which plays a key role in the continuum of mental health care for young people in Ireland. The data provide useful information on patterns of service utilisation, and contribute to our understanding of mental health service delivery to transition-age persons.

Conference Name: 
Date of Presentation: 
10th Oct 2015
Type of presentation: 
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