Sunday 20 October 2019

Major mental health facility for youth in Bray

The old courthouse on the Boghall Road in Bray
The old courthouse on the Boghall Road in Bray

Niamh O'Connor

The old courthouse on the Boghall Road in Bray may be chosen as the site of the new Jigsaw youth mental health facility that's set to open in the county by the end of the year.

Minister for Health Simon Harris will meet Jigsaw representatives and local vested groups on Friday to discuss it and other potential locations, but 'a huge amount of work has already been done' to ascertain the suitability of the disused site, a well-placed source said.

Commenting on developments Minister Harris said: 'I am really excited to finally be in a position to get this fantastic resource open in Bray to serve young people throughout Wicklow.'

Sinn Fein's Deputy John Brady told this newspaper that he has been talking about having the old courthouse earmarked for Jigsaw since 2012. 'It's lying vacant and has been derelict as such for ten years or more. It's a terrible sin to see it lying there in such a state,' he said.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil's spokesperson for Health Stephen Donnelly said a number of locations, mainly around Greystones and Bray, were still being considered for the new base in the county.

'We don't yet know where Jigsaw will set up base. It typically costs around €750,000 a year to keep a centre open and Jigsaw gets around 84 per cent of its funding from the HSE. A number of locations, mainly around, Bray and Greystones,' he said.

The Wicklow TD welcomed the news. 'It means that anyone between the ages of 12 and 25 will be able to make an appointment to speak with a mental health professional, without needing a referral letter from their GP,' he said

Jigsaw's services, currently in 13 communities across Ireland, are staffed by fully-trained professionals across a number of disciplines and provide a range of early intervention mental health services for young people aged 12-25 experiencing mild to moderate mental health difficulties.

The new Wicklow base mental health base was announced in conjunction with a new Tipperary facility, growing the Jigsaw reach from 62 per cent of Ireland's youth population aged 12-25 to over 70 per cent.

The HSE is the main funder of 13 locations nationally, providing in the region of €12m to Jigsaw at present. Existing locations are Donegal, Galway, Roscommon, Offaly, Kerry, Meath, North Fingal, Dublin 15, Tallaght and Clondalkin, Limerick, Cork and Dublin city. Between 2008 and 2016, around 16,000 young people attended Jigsaw.

Minister Harris also said that he had visited Jigsaw projects in other locations. 'Each time I have been blown away by their success and the level of youth buy in. From working with the network on Jigsaw activists in our area, I know the Wicklow Jigsaw will be no different. It will be a fantastic asset for our community. I really look forward to sharing more details with constituents when the location and opening arrangements are confirmed. This is such positive news,'

I want to thank the Bray Area Partnership and all out local mental health groups for working with me to ensure we got this across the line. I have been working to deliver a Jigsaw to Wicklow since before I was Minister for Health.

Bray People