Jigsaw Kerry was proud to present Kerry’s first 35 Peer Educators with their graduation certificates at a recognition event held in the Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney, on Thursday evening last.

MC for the night was Donagh Hennebry from Jigsaw Kerry, who spoke passionately about the importance of providing young people an opportunity to discuss their emotions, express how they are feeling and the importance of each young person having one good adult in their lives to listen. He thanked the young people for their commitment to the programme and the school’s teachers, principals and staff for their unwavering support.

Jigsaw Kerry provides a free, brief, goal-focused therapeutic intervention lasting up to eight sessions for young people between the ages of 12-25.

“The Peer Education Schools Programme involved 35 volunteer Transition Year students from three Killarney schools; St Brendan’s, Presentation and Killarney Community College, as well as three Castleisland Post Primary Schools; St Patricks, Presentation and Castleisland Community College,” Frank O’Rahilly from Jigsaw Kerrysaid.

“These schools and students came together with Jigsaw Kerry to train in the co-delivery of a Youth Mental Health Workshop to their peers. It is well established that during adolescence, peers play a large part in a young person’s life and that young people are more likely to listen to mental health messages when they come from other young people.”

He explained that over the course of 18 hours of training, delivered by Donagh Hennebry the Youth and Community Engagement Worker, these young people were supported to develop a range of skills including public speaking and presentation skills, setting and maintaining boundaries, active listening and encouraging their peers to seek help if they are feeling down, worried or stressed.

“Students also learned a range of key messages about promoting youth mental health.”

Karen O’Donoghue, a peer educator, spoke on the night about how much she enjoyed the whole experience and the lasting image for her was the description of mental health being on a scale, that can fluctuate between positive and negative and ‘that we all have mental health’.

A highlight of the event was when the 150 audience were treated to the Presentation Castleisland’s 30 strong student choir led by their director Ailish O’Connor.

If you are concerned about a young person or would like to find out more about Jigsaw’s work in the community you can contact them directly on 0667186785 or find out more on www.jigsaw.ie.