The Jigsaw process
Understanding the context
Before planning a Jigsaw project it is vital to understand the community and its unique situation. A county with a very spread-out, rural population may have different needs from a dense, urban community. Gathering information about existing resources, such as health services, youth centres and schools, helps identify gaps and problems.
With an understanding of the needs and resources the community chooses its goals, and decides on what the project should focus on to meet them. This might involve promoting awareness of mental health issues at public events, setting up a welcoming and supportive place for young people, offering training to service providers and community members, and/or working with schools to improve their support for students. But ultimately the plan will depend on the community, its needs and the people involved.
Getting a project up and running
Once the community has developed a plan, a Jigsaw project is ready to be rolled out. Young people’s involvement is still vital to ensure that the project stays relevant, to promote mental health awareness, to support and encourage other young people to take advantage of the services that Jigsaw projects provide, and, in doing so, to lessen the stigma associated with looking for help.
Local agencies, community groups and organisations also have a central role. They bring resources, experience and knowledge to help projects in reaching their goals.
In order to learn and improve we need to look back and assess what we have done. In each community there will be a system to collect information and track and evaluate the impact of Jigsaw.