Dr Tony Bates is the Founding Director and CEO of Jigsaw (formally Headstrong) – Ireland’s National Centre for Youth Mental Health.
Prior to establishing Jigsaw, Tony worked as Principal Clinical Psychologist at St James’s Hospital in Dublin.
He worked and trained in the United States and Oxford University alongside some of the World’s leading thinkers in mental health. On his return to Ireland in 1996 he established the Trinity College Dublin’s Masters in Cognitive Psychotherapy. His major influences include: Tim Beck, Mark Williams, Thich Nhat Hanh, Irving Yalom, young people on Headstrong’s Youth Advisory Panel, his two grandchildren, poetry and a good movie.
Tony is a regular contributor to print and broadcast debate about mental health. He was an editor of ‘A Vision For Change’, the ten year Government policy on mental health service reform and has been closely involved in writing several recent policies on suicide prevent, and the health of children and young people. He is the author of a number of bestselling books including “Coming through Depression: a mindful approach to recovery”.
He believes that “people who find the inner power to come through the really hard times often become more fully alive than those who have never experienced the depths of suffering”
Since founding Jigsaw in 2006, he and his colleagues have been committed in changing how Ireland thinks about youth mental health. With the collaboration of communities, young people and service providers, Jigsaw’s service is now achieving a consistent reduction in psychological distress across counties in Ireland.
“I think as we reach Headstrongs (now Jigsaw) 10th anniversary and reflect on what worked well, it’s obvious that our smartest move was to consult young people about what they wanted and needed. Young people keep everyone who works in Headstrong (now Jigsaw) honest and on track”.