‘When you hear of young Travellers committing suicide, you make no wonder of it anymore. We can do better for Travellers,’ Patrick Reilly, Pavee Point Mental Health Worker.
Pavee Point made its presentation to the Joint Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care today. In our submission we conclude that an urgent response and positive action is needed to address the lack of engagement of Travellers and Roma with Primary Care mental health services. This has left the Traveller community in a mental health crisis with a suicide rate that is 7 times the national average.
We welcome Health Minister Simon Harris’ recent commitment to re-establishing the Traveller Health Advisory Committee and the development of the new Traveller Health Action Plan based on the findings of the All Ireland Traveller Health Study.
We urge the Committee to prioritise these actions and ring fence a budget for their implementation as a matter of urgency. We also say that Travellers and Roma should be considered as important stakeholders in the development of health services, policies and practices.
The Oireachtas Committee was established to achieve cross-party agreement on the implementation of a single, long-term vision for mental health care and the direction of mental health policy in Ireland.
The Committee will make recommendations on how best to align Ireland’s mental health services and supports to increase availability and accessibility, recruit and retain personnel and complete the implementation of ‘A Vision for Change’ in order to provide a more integrated mental health service of the highest quality.
The final report is expected to be published by 31st October.