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

  • L. O’Keeffe (a1), A. O’Reilly (a2), G. O’Brien (a3), R. Buckley (a4) and R. Illback (a5)...



Jigsaw is an early intervention mental health service developed by Headstrong which provides support to young people, aged 12–25 years, in 10 communities across Ireland. This study aimed to profile young people who availed of Jigsaw, in one calendar year, and to provide evidence that Jigsaw’s model facilitates the reduction of psychological distress.


Participants were 2420 young people who received support, directly or indirectly, from Jigsaw. Demographic details, including age, gender, presenting issues and referral pathways, captured on the Jigsaw Data System were described and psychological distress was assessed using the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation (CORE) questionnaires.


A gender balance was almost observed and the majority of participants were between 15 and 17 years old. The most common presenting issue was anxiety and the most common referral sources were self, parent, general practitioner, school and Adult Mental Health Services (AMHS). Participants reported high levels of psychological distress pre-intervention and levels were significantly lower post intervention.


Although a lack of control group limits interpretation of the study findings, this study 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.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: L. O’Keeffe, PhD, Headstrong: The National Centre for Youth Mental Health, 16 Westland Square, Pearse Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. (Email:


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

  • L. O’Keeffe (a1), A. O’Reilly (a2), G. O’Brien (a3), R. Buckley (a4) and R. Illback (a5)...


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