Jigsaw – providing 1:1 mental health support for young adults

Jigsaw provides a vital service supporting the mental health of young adults aged between 12 – 25 years old. They have a webchat facility providing 1:1 support – here are the details, reproduced from their website.


Jigsaw Live Chat is a new way to get support if you’re aged between 12 – 25 years-old. Our trained staff host 1:1 webchats, Monday-Friday from 1-5pm.

Login and talk about what’s on your mind or send us an email anytime.

We accept our final chats 30 minutes before chat closes. If you’d like to chat after this, you can send an email or log in at another time. Register to chat or email with us.

Live chat

What do I need to know?

  • What happens when I request a chat?
  • How do I get the most out of my chat?
  • What do I do if there is a technical difficulty during my session?
  • Is the service confidential?
What happens when I request a chat?

When you request a chat, there will be a text box where you can tell us a little bit about your reason for your visit. We will ask you to fill out a brief questionnaire about how you are doing at the moment. At the start of your chat, our staff member will welcome you, introduce themselves and invite you to say a little more about what you’d like support with.

Can I be anonymous?

You need to register to use this service. When registering you will be asked to provide an email address, a username and some demographic information. You can be as anonymous as you choose. This means you don’t need to provide your first name if you prefer. You can also use an email address that doesn’t identify you (i.e. doesn’t contain your name).

Do I need a referral?

No, you can just log in whenever you like during opening hours. Or send us an email anytime.

How to get the most out of my chat?

Chats sessions will last approximately 40 minutes. To get the most out of your session, we recommend:

  • Using a good internet connection if possible to minimise disruptions
  • Having a think about what it is you most want help with. Your clinician will also help you with this in the session
  • Staying focused on the chat and responding promptly
  • Avoid multitasking or having multiple browser windows open
  • If you need to step away from the chat, let us know.

How long will it take to get a response to an email?

We will respond to your email as soon as possible. We aim to respond within two days but there are times when it may take longer than this.

What if I am in crisis?

Jigsaw is not a crisis service. If you or someone you know needs immediate help, check out crisis support options.

What if I’m attending other mental health services?

Do let us now if you are already linked in with another support service, in particular any regular therapeutic sessions you might have. For example at Jigsaw, in HSE mental health services, student counselling services or another online service.

Having contact with multiple services, particularly if they are not working together can be unhelpful and confusing for you. If you are attending another service, please let us know and we can talk about the best next steps.

I’m looking for information on face to face services.

Find your local Jigsaw contact details here.

What do I do if there is a technical difficulty during my session?

If there is a problem with your internet connection:

Check your internet connection. If you are unable to reconnect, you can access a new chat when your connection is restored. Although it may not be with the same person, the person you speak to will be able to see the details of your previous chat so you can pick up where you left off.

If there is a problem with our internet connection:

If you do not hear from us within five minutes of the chat being disrupted, we will probably need time to resolve the issue. We will email you to let you know what has happened as soon as possible.

If there is a problem with the chat platform:

We will highlight on this page and will email you to let you know what has happened as soon as possible.


Is this service confidential?

The information that you share in chats and emails is confidential to the Jigsaw Live Chat team. We will not share information without your consent unless we are concerned that you or someone else is at risk of harm.

In such circumstances we may need to share your personal information with third parties such as an Garda Síochána, emergency services or Tusla, The Child and Family Agency to ensure that you or another person at risk gets the appropriate support.

In addition if we are concerned that you or another person is at risk of harm, we may ask you for more information, such as your full name, your address, or contact details for a next of kin who we can contact. It is up to you if you wish to provide this information.

Protecting your information

Jigsaw Live Chat provides confidential and preventative webchat and email services directly to young people. We are committed to doing this while also keeping your data safe.

The information here explains why we collect data, what data is collected, what we do with it, and what you can do to exercise your rights or to get more information.

What information do we collect?

Personal information is any information that can be used to identify you. For example, your name, date of birth, email address, IP address, as well as information relating to your health or personal circumstances.

We retain personal information that you provide, when you:

  • register with us
  • seek assistance and support, for example, by logging in, emailing us or engaging in a chat session
  • otherwise give us personal information.

How do we use your information?

We use your information in the following ways:

  • To give you the information and support you ask for and ensure that Jigsaw staff offer you the best possible service.
  • For internal administrative purposes (like accounting and records), and to let you know about changes to our services or policies.
  • To evaluate what we are doing and understand ways to improve support for young people. We may contact you directly about this. If we use your information in relation to evaluating our services, and for research and analysis, any information that could identify you will be removed.
  • To look in to and respond to complaints, legal claims or other issues.
  • If we need to use your information for other reasons, we will tell you about it and get your permission.

We keep your data in accordance with our data retention policy. We review our data retention periods for personal information on a regular basis.

Who do we share your information with?

When we collect your personal information we use strict procedures and security features to prevent unauthorised access. So that Jigsaw can keep your information safe, it is stored electronically by Microsoft Azure on a secure server. To help look after the Jigsaw Live Chat IT system, there are developers in MHI (New Zealand) who can see your information; they do not store or share your information.

We will not sell your details to any third parties.

Other Information

If you need any more information about the way your personal data will be used, if you want to exercise your data rights, or if you are unhappy with the way we have handled your personal data you can get in touch with our Data Protection Officer:

Data Protection Officer

Jigsaw – The National Centre for Youth Mental Health

16 Westland Square

Pearse Street


D02 V590

Email: data.protection@jigsaw.ie

Telephone: 01 472 7010

Jigsaw is a registered charity, CHY 17439.

Changes to this policy

We may change our privacy policy from time to time, so please check back every now and again

To see more about Jigsaw and the supports they offer click the link https://jigsawonline.ie/


24/7 text line launched to support mental health

We are finally becoming aware that we need to care for our mental health as much as for our physical health. Over these past months many people have experienced anxiety, feelings of loneliness, low mood and more. This is not unusual. If you would like support to deal with these or other mental health issues a new text support service is available. Just text 50808. Here is the press release from the recent launch of the service


A new text-based mental health service funded by the HSE has been launched. ‘50808’ is a first of its kind for Ireland, a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through mental health or emotional crisis. Doireann Garrihy launched the service via a Zoom event with Simon Harris TD, Minister for Health, Jim Daly, Minister for Mental Health and Anne O’Connor, Chief Operations Officer HSE.

Since the service began its pilot in September last year, it has provided support to 3,801 people through 6,694 conversations. It is expected that ‘50808’ will support over 50,000 people each year once fully operational.

Of the almost four thousand people supported:

  •  832 people were thinking about suicide
  •  360 people were self-harming
  •  The top issues discussed were: Anxiety/stress (40%), Depression/sadness (32%), Relationships (29%), Isolation/loneliness (23%) and Suicide (18%)
  •  80% of texters have been between the ages of 16 and 34
  •  65% of texters were female, 24% male, 2% transgender and 2% non-binary
  •  30% of texters identified as LGBTI+
  •  35% of texters are living with a disability, an existing mental health condition, or other medical condition
  •  Reasons for texting: Didn’t have anyone else to talk to (50%), Wanted to talk to someone who didn’t know me (48%), More comfortable texting than talking (40%), Too embarrassed to talk on the phone or in-person (31%), Didn’t have access to a therapist (31%).

The service uses an artificial intelligence (AI) system to analyse a texter’s initial message, scanning keywords, phrases, and even emojis to determine the level of severity. The texters at most imminent risk are placed at the top of the queue.

50808 has performed over 100 “Active Rescues” since beginning in pilot phase in September 2019 in which the National Ambulance Service is contacted for a texter in need of emergency support.

The service allows trained Crisis Volunteers to volunteer from home. Crisis Volunteers complete a 30-hour training and have 24/7 supervision by full-time mental health professionals.

Simon Harris TD, Minister for Health, said:

“Many people particularly young people don’t feel comfortable making that call or reaching out for help. This is a service that will offer a lifeline to people of all ages. 50808 is free, anonymous and inclusive. It’s been an exceptionally difficult time for our country, and this service is needed more than ever. I have no doubt the launch of 50808 will save lives.”

Jim Daly TD, Minister for Mental Health and Older People, said:

“50808 has been in development for some time, and it couldn’t launch at a more important moment. The service’s trained Crisis Volunteers will help people through this current crisis and will continue to provide free, 24/7 support in the long term. This life-saving service is part of the government’s strategy to protect the mental health of all members of the public.”

Anne O’Connor, Chief Operations Officer, HSE, said:

“The impact of this pandemic will be different for all of us and while not everyone will need mental health support, for those that do it’s important to have a variety of services that meet those needs. Picking up the phone and asking for help can appear daunting, but texting 50808 will connect you to a trained listening Crisis Volunteer. Parallel to this important service, the HSE, through our Psychosocial Response Project, is aligning the different levels of supports that are available online, by phone and text to improve accessibility to mental health resources for those who might be struggling at this time.”

Ian Power, CEO of 50808, said:

“We now have over 300 trained Crisis Volunteers providing free, anonymous support to people who are struggling with any issue, big or small. We’re also using technology to ensure we’re getting to the texters who need us most first and using data to understand our texter’s needs and improve the service. We’re excited to make the 50808 number famous so people who need us, know we’re here to listen.”

Managing Anxiety in Children

Dr. Elizabeth McQuaid, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Donegal Psychology Department

Anxiety is a normal part of being human and can occur in adults and children. Some level of anxiety is perfectly normal and can actually help us to try new things or to perform better at activities. Anxiety is considered to be a problem when the level of anxiety is out of proportion to the stressful situation or when the feeling of anxiety continues after a stressful situation is over. It is also considered to be outside of the typical range if it appears for no apparent reason or if it significantly affects a child’s quality of life.

Symptoms of anxiety in children include frequent tummy aches or headaches, excessive shyness, difficulty taking part in activities and wanting to avoid situations. Anxiety may also make it difficult for children to be away from their caregivers and they may be clingy, cry or have tantrums on separation.

Parenting an anxious child can be really tough as caregivers are often unsure what to do or say. There are a few key points to remember when children are anxious:

  1. Anxiety in children is experienced by them as very real. It is not ‘attention seeking’ or ‘bad behaviour’.
  2. Anxiety can be even harder for children to deal with because their brains are still developing and they don’t, as yet, have the words or problem solving skills to cope.
  3. It is important that we don’t dismiss children’s worries or tell them that they’re being silly.
  4. It’s important that they can talk to those they love about what is bothering them.
  5. Relaxation, mindfulness & yoga for children have been shown by research to help anxiety. Groups are available locally.
  6. Boosting confidence by encouraging children to participate in other activities that they can do well can also help. Martial arts, scouting groups, music, art classes and non-team sports may be easier for the anxious child.
  7. It is important for caregivers to manage their own stress levels. If we are stressed, our children will also be stressed. It is important that children get to spend quality, fun time with the people they love. Stress management groups for adults are run, free of charge, locally by the HSE and are available to all.
  8. Many great books have been written on helping children cope with anxiety. The names of some of these can be found on the Parent Hub website and many are available in the local library.
Helpful Anxiety books for Children and Teenagers.

Helping Your anxious Child: A Step-by-Step Guide. R. Rappe, A. Wignall & S. Spence.

What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kids Guide to Anxiety. Dawn Heubner.

When My Worries get Too Big: A Relaxation Book for Children. Kari Dunn Baron.

The Whole Brain Child.  Daniel Siegel & Tina Bryson.

Parenting from the Inside Out. Daniel Siegel & Tina Bryson.

Raising a Secure Child.  K. Hoffman, G. Cooper & B. Powell.

Sitting Like a Frog: Mindfulness for Children. Eline Snell

The Huge Bag of Worries. Virginia Ironside

Morris and the Bundle of Worries. Jill Seeney

Hold On to Your Kids.  Gabor Mate & Gordon Neufield.

When Someone Very Special Dies: Children can Learn to Cope with Grief. Marge Heegaard.

Helping your Anxious Teen. Sheila Josephs.

The Anxiety Book for Teens . Lisa Schab.


Helpful Apps on Anxiety for children and Teenagers.

Stop, Breathe and think Kids: Age 5+

Well Beyond Meditation for kids:  Age 9-11(Apple Store only)

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Street: Age 6+

Smiling Mind: Age 4 +

Headspace: Mindfulness:  Age 9+

Mind Yeti:  Age 5-12 (Apple Store only)

Mindshift  CBT : Age 12 +

Superstretch Yoga:  Age 5-11



Motherhood and anxiety

Becoming a mum is a huge life changing event, which can impact greatly on our mental health. We are told that pregnancy and post-pregnancy are one of the happiest times of our lives.

So what happens when it isn’t? We feel that there is something wrong with us. We compare ourselves to other mums. We end up feeling overwhelmed and anxious. We hide how we feel. We put on our ‘mask’. The mask hides the often panicky and anxious feelings, the mood swings, the tears and the low confidence.

 “How are you?”- someone asks.“I’m grand, fine, I’m good”- you answer.

How many times a day do you tell yourself or tell other people this? The mask you have created shows the world “I’m grand, fine, I’m good”. It does not show the world the depths of fear, worry and depression you feel. Yet wearing this mask can be exhausting.

When someone asks you “How are you?” part of you might want to tell them the truth, BUT then fear hits us. Fear feeds Miss Anxiety, allowing her to create negative thoughts, assumptions and beliefs, leading to thoughts like; “Will I be judged? Will I be seen as not coping? Will they think I am a bad mum? Will I be a burden to them?” So you answer “I’m grand, fine, I’m good”. Whilst telling ourselves, that these feelings will pass, I am a modern mum, just keep going. BUT what if these feelings don’t pass, what if you don’t talk, will you be wearing your mask for years?

If you can relate to this, please know you are not alone.

If you find yourself unable to sleep due to racing and repetitive thoughts. If you find yourself making excuses to avoid meeting friends, going places or phoning into work sick. If when you get in your car or close the front door, you start to cry, know that you are not alone. Know that you are not a failure. Know that you are not a bad mum.

It is believed we have over 60,000 thoughts per day. Yet the thoughts we attach an emotion to can become very real to us. We create a story and play out what will happen in our minds. We convince ourselves this is what is going to happen. We are feeling the emotions involved and our body is physically responding by our muscles tensing, our stomachs feeling sick or we have a panic attack. All this from a thought, a thought that if you break it down, you probably have little or no evidence to back up. Yet we assume that these terrible things will happen.

Examples of Anxious Negative Thoughts:

  • “I can’t”
  • “What if”
  • “Yes, but”.

 “Coping with anxiety can be overwhelming. It may trigger your fight or flight response, while using all of your physical and mental energy”.

Living with anxiety every day can be exhausting. It is always present no matter what you are doing, or how much you need to focus on different tasks. It can impact on your daily life, and spill over into other areas, such as your relationships, your job and completing household chores. This can make you feel even more overwhelmed.


  • The impact of anxiety on your brain

During times of increased anxiety, the brain can be so overwhelmed with stress, that it will reduce the levels of energy it provides to different areas of your body. This can lead to digestion problems or tension headaches, which can be caused by feeling more stressed and overwhelmed.

  • The impact of anxiety on your mental health

When we talk about feeling overwhelmed, we are talking about how anxiety usually causes us severe stress that affects our thoughts. Anxiety makes it so hard to focus on anything other than your anxiety, therefore the more you focus on anxiety, the more anxiety you will feel. Some people may feel a lot of emotional distress, causing them to cry, become more irritable or lose hope that their anxiety will stop.

Anxiety or panic attack sufferers often feel that they have no control over their situation, and that anxiety is now controlling them.

  • The impact of anxiety on your physical health

Anxiety can lead to physical symptoms; however physical symptoms can often lead to anxiety. Severe anxiety leads to physical ailments especially during an anxiety attack such as:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Tightness of the chest
  • Difficulty in catching a breath
  • Feeling sick

How to manage your anxiety

Anxiety can be managed. The best way to stop feeling overwhelmed from anxiety is to learn to control it. Below are some tips that may be useful, in overcoming the mental and physical symptoms of anxiety:


  1. Distraction: 

It can be difficult to distract yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed. However, it can be done. By calling a friend and talking on the phone, your mind finds it hard to focus on your anxiety and talk on the phone at the same time.

  1. Go For a Walk:

Walking also makes it difficult for you mind to focus on your anxiety. Listening to music, or a radio programme can also distract your mind from anxious thoughts. Walking also moves blood around your body, and this helps to control your breathing and your heart rate.

  1. Controlled Breathing:

Controlling your breathing is important, as anxiety symptoms can create new anxiety symptoms. Breathing in slowly, and breathing out slowly can help if you are hyperventilating. When someone experiences a panic attack, they can hyperventilate. Hyperventilating stops your body from creating enough carbon dioxide, because you are breathing it out too quickly. This can lead to chest pains and feeling dizzy.

  1. Keep a diary:

When your thoughts are too overwhelming, another effective thing to try is writing your thoughts down. This has been shown to have a positive effect on our mind. Our thoughts have been released from our mind and we can now see them in black and white. This can also help to clarify your thoughts.

  1. Exercise:

Exercise is also a powerful tool to combat feeling overwhelmed. It uses up energy and tires out your muscles, whilst improves your breathing so that your symptoms are not as severe. Exercise is not only beneficial for your physical health, but for your mental health too.

  1. CBT:

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is a technique used in counselling to help manage anxiety. You can try this at home by separating yourself from your thoughts by rewording them. For example you may say to yourself: “If I go to that meeting, I will make a fool of myself” or “I’m having the thought that if I go to that meeting, I will make a fool of myself.”

The power of this new way of thinking is that you are taking a step back from your anxious thought. When you add “I’m having the thought that…” you take away some of the anxiety’s fear. It’s not always about stopping anxious thoughts but about changing them.

So what can you do?

  • Mammy Meet Up

Find yourself a group of other mums. There are a number of groups such as Mama Squad in Letterkenny and Tea & Toast in Buncrana. You may find that it is through a Parent & Toddler group or a Breastfeeding support group that you find a group. For others it may be just a group that meets to go for a walk or go to the gym. What matters is that you find others that you can talk to – and have some fun along the way

  • Counselling

If you feel you are struggling with your emotions then counselling may help. Counselling offers you a safe space to talk about how you’re feeling. You will not be judged. Your doctor can refer you to a counsellor, alternatively you can see what counsellors are available in your area. If you feel anxiety is controlling you, and you are constantly feeling overwhelmed, talking to a trained professional can offer you the support and help you need to move forward.

(Contributed by Sarah Barr New Beginnings Counselling 0864477867)