Jigsaw and MSD Ireland announce digital youth mental health initiative

4 May 2018

Dr Joseph Duffy, CEO of Jigsaw, and Liz O’Donnell, director of policy government affairs and communications at MSD Ireland. Image: Robbie Reynolds

MSD and Jigsaw are partnering up to launch an online digital mental health portal.

Jigsaw, Ireland’s National Centre for Youth Mental Health, has been chosen by MSD Ireland as a 2018 recipient of MSD’s Neighbour of Choice programme.

The programme gives grants of up to $100,000 to a chosen cause or project. MSD will work together with Jigsaw using digital technology to provide new avenues of help for young people in Ireland.

Jigsaw offers help to struggling young people

Future Human

Founded in 2006 as Headstrong, Jigsaw offers free, accessible and evidence-driven mental health supports for young people between the age of 20 and 25 through a nationwide network of 13 hubs across Ireland.

CEO of Jigsaw, Dr Joseph Duffy, was speaking at a hearing by the Joint Committee on the Future of Mental Healthcare on 2 May and announced details for ‘eJigsaw’, an e-mental health initiative, which will be supported by MSD.

A high-quality and accessible mental health platform is planned, focusing on prevention and early intervention, aimed at young people, parents and adults working with them.

He added that the Jigsaw team believes Ireland has the potential to become a global leader in youth mental health research and support by 2028.

Digital mental health supports

For Duffy, embracing digital technology will be key to Ireland becoming a leader in mental health care. He explained where it fits in the overall puzzle: “We see the potential for digital technology to transform the way young people in Ireland look after their mental health and to transform the way we as a country design and deliver mental health supports and services.”

Duffy said, “At Jigsaw, we want to see an Ireland where every young person’s mental health is valued and supported. The key features of our vision include a focus on prevention as well as early intervention, accessibility and responsivity, and a commitment to meaningful youth participation and community involvement.”

He added it was his hope that initiatives like eJigsaw would be a useful template for further initiatives in the area of youth mental health care.

Liz O’Donnell, director of policy government affairs and communications at MSD Ireland, said, “We were delighted when Jigsaw were selected as the successful 2018 recipient of MSD’s Neighbour of Choice programme which sees a grant of up to $100,000 given to a chosen cause or project.”

O’Donnell added that online support has been a major boost for MSD itself. “Through our own online patient support programmes we have seen the value of online assistance and are therefore fully aware of the potential impact of digital on the healthcare landscape.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects