Traveller and Roma women highlighted the mental health issues for their communities at the World Congress on Women’s Mental Health which took place in Dublin’s RDS from the 6th to 9th March.

Our Primary Health Care Project produced a booklet for the event – Pavee Beoirs and Lackeens: Our Health, Our Words, which highlights some of the key issues  that shape Traveller women’s mental health in Ireland.

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Mary Brigid Collins and Missie Collins from our Traveller Primary Health Care Project spoke about the 2010  All Ireland Traveller Health Study carried out by 400 + Traveller women across Ireland,  resulting in an unprecedented 80% response rate. They noted that this innovative approach to research worked well and captured data that would otherwise have been unavailable without Traveller participation. 

Mary Brigid Collins and Missie Collins

Mary Brigid Collins and Missie Collins

Gabi Muntean of our Roma Project spoke about some of the preliminary results of the National Roma Needs Assessment commissioned by the Department of Justice and due for publication shortly. 

She also reflected on the unique nature of the research as it is the first participatory research project of its kind with Roma in Ireland, undertaken with 14 Roma peer researchers. 

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Focusing on Roma women and mental health, Gabi noted discrimination, unemployment and lack of social protection as sources of stress for Roma women in Ireland.

 

(L to R) Catherine Mannion, NTWF, Sandra McDonagh, Offaly Traveller Movement and Patricia McKeever, Exchange House.

(L to R) Catherine Mannion, NTWF, Sandra McDonagh, Offaly Traveller Movement and Patricia McKeever, Exchange House.

Maria Joyce of The National Traveller Women’s Forum presented the key issues and considerations in regard to Traveller women’s mental health. Maria reflected on recent research conducted with Traveller women and emphasised the importance of using a community development approach to address Traveller women’s poor mental health,  stressing that Traveller women must be central in developing solutions that affect their mental health.

Dr. Marianna Prontera of Cairde also presented the findings of Projectos Romano: A study of Roma communities in Balbriggan. Dr. Prontera outlined the key recommendations from the report and endorsed Pavee Point’s ongoing advocacy for a dedicated Roma Primary Health Care Project.

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 The theme of this year’s conference was Rights, Resilience and Recovery and the International Association of Women’s Mental Health promoted a rights, equality and scientifically evidence-based approach to women’s mental health.

The National Women’s Council of Ireland and Trinity College co-hosted this event which was a networking and learning opportunity for professionals to discuss best practices and innovative developments to improve women’s health.