Mental Health Services Failing Travellers says Oireachtas Committee

The Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health has acknowledged the mental health crisis in the Travelling community and has called for action.

“It is clear … that there is a mental health crisis in the Travelling community, and that the design and delivery of mental health services are failing Travellers, much more so than any other segment of the population,” the report published today states.

“Travellers experience a 6 times higher suicide rate, accounting for approximately 11% of all Traveller deaths” – All Ireland Traveller Health Study

Travellers and Suicide – Facts and Figures

The report also states it feels it’s ‘extremely important’ that a greater emphasis should be placed on Traveller mental health by service providers.

The Oireachtas Committee Report recommends there be targeted services for Travellers and that an ethnic identifier be included in service provider data collection systems, in a human rights context.

The Committee also calls on the Government to ensure training for all health workers so that they are aware of specific issues for and needs of Travellers, LGBT people and migrants.

“83% of Travellers receive their health information from Traveller primary health care projects (peer-led, culturally appropriate projects) and it is important that these are kept operating and expanded with adequate funding,” according to the report.

The Committee report also acknowledges that many Roma people do not have access to basic health, including mental health services.

The Committee is chaired by Senator Joan Freeman and made up of a cross-section of TDs and Senators who heard from a variety of service providers and ngos.

Read about the Pavee Point submission here.