Calls for vital mental health service to be kept in Clondalkin

by Padraig Conlon
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Fears of a reduced service at a local mental health organisation for young people have been dismissed as “irresponsible.”

Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health, plans to amalgamate Jigsaw Tallaght with Jigsaw Clondalkin with services being provided from the latter location.

With Clondalkin and the surrounding area recording the second highest number of referrals for mental health services in the country, many working in the sector locally voiced concern over the potential detrimental effect any move would have on young people’s ability to access help.

Mayor Mark Ward said he was “shocked, angered, and dismayed” at the plans.

“This is a direct attack on our young people, and it must not happen,” Mayor Ward told Dublin Gazette.

“Jigsaw management and the HSE are playing with our children’s lives, this must not be allowed happen.

“I have had direct contact from parents, staff and community groups recently all expressing the same concerns.

“There is a lack of mental health services in Clondalkin and to reduce or remove this vital service is cruel to say the least.

“Young people from Clondalkin won’t travel to Tallaght to use Jigsaw’s services.

“The average waiting time for Clondalkin is 7 weeks, how long will it be if this service is reduced?

“I had a motion passed this week calling for an increase in resources for Jigsaw Clondalkin to meet the rising demand for its services.”

People Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny also spoke of his fears about the proposed amalgamation.

“I have been contacted by a number of people who work with young people with significant mental health issues and they are extremely worried about Jigsaw’s impending move out of the Clondalkin area,” he said.

“In an area that experiences deep economic and social disadvantage, the impact on people’s mental health can be immense.

“I believe it is vital that these services are kept in the locality so that young people can access the help they need in their own area.

“It’s imperative that Jigsaw Clondalkin remains in situ so it can continue the work it’s been doing for the past number of years.

“Any less than that will be a loss to everybody at a time when such services are needed the most.

“I urge Jigsaw to rethink its decision, we desperately need to keep these services in the area for the sake of our young people.”

In response to an enquiry from Dublin Gazette, Jigsaw’s Head of Communications Mike Mansfield said reports that Jigsaw was closing its services in Clondalkin were “misinformation.”

“We were a bit surprised to read this week that Jigsaw Clondalkin was closing, this is not true.

The Clondalkin services will still be open but offered from a double hub in Tallaght.

“This will mean better services, more staffing and less waiting time for service users to get the help they seek.

“I can assure everyone there’ll be absolutely nil effect whatsoever on the quality of care and service available.

“It is essential for our young people’s wellbeing that we respond always in the right way.

“We work with the Government, the HSE and other policymakers to make sure the right frameworks are put in place to help Ireland’s young people.

“To say that services in Clondalkin are closing or being reduced is very irresponsible and not very helpful.”

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