Residents express anger at loss of Jigsaw services

By Maurice Garvey 

The impending loss of Jigsaw Clondalkin services for young people  is being put down to the commercialisation of mental health services.

With Clondalkin Jigsaw set to be ‘integrated’ to Tallaght Jigsaw by April 2020, residents mobilised on Wednesday evening to express their anger at a “massive loss” for vulnerable young people in the area.

Jigsaw Protest 02 1

Residents at the community walk in Clondalkin last Wednesday night

Local sources indicate the Tallaght Jigsaw building will cater for service users in the South Dublin County region.

However, people involved in mental health services in Clondalkin, say Clondalkin Jigsaw has helped thousands of young people since it opened its doors in 2011, and was more in demand than the Tallaght service.

“In the beginning, it was a shared service between Tallaght and Clondalkin, but from the outset Clondalkin was the busiest,” said Susan Doyle, a former Clondalkin Jigsaw employee and current Intervention Officer.

 “In 2006, North Clondalkin had the highest suicide rates in the country,” said Susan, who lost her own son Robert Hoey (17) to suicide in 2011, just one year after he lost his best friend to suicide.

Oatfield resident Susan was involved in the local Community Action on Suicide group, who fought for the service to be introduced to Clondalkin.

Jigsaw Protest 01 1

Glen, Rebbeca, Kathryn, Kayleigh, Cllr Mark Ward and Abby

“We will be holding a silent vigil outside the Jigsaw office, but in respect of staff, they were very much in the dark,” she said.

“When Dr Tony Bates (Jigsaw and Headstrong founder) retired, it seemed to become corporate.

“I could feel the changes when I worked there. Staff were told to reach more targets, but it is not about quantity or numbers, it is about quality and people.”

Cllr Mark Ward said questions remained unanswered as to what will become of a potential “satellite service” for Clondalkin.

“They couldn’t answer this at the regional Health Forum, of which I sit on the board, because they are funded through the HSE. We don’t know what the service is going to be.

“To reduce or remove this vital service is cruel – young people from Clondalkin won’t travel to Tallaght to use Jigsaw’s services.”

Cllr Ward said the consultation process hosted by Jigsaw earlier this year happened after they made their decision and the “community was ignored.”

Ms Doyle also felt that staff were “dismissed” during the consultation meeting in the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel.

“There was no consultation in the community but a lot of anger at how they were dismissed,” she said.

“In 30 years working in the community, we have always had to fight for services, and we keep losing them. People are tired of that.

“What sticks with me is talking to parents in the waiting room, while their child is receiving help. They are so happy to see their kid back to his old self, and say they can now focus on the rest of their family.

“Mental health issues affect the whole family. Kids who use the services then go into school, and their friends see the difference in them.”

The Echo contacted Jigsaw for comment, but did not receive a reply at the time of going to print.

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