• Clodagh Meaney

Pavee Point call for action on Traveller mental health inequalities

Travellers' have a suicide rate that is six times that of the national average

By Clodagh Meaney

Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre have welcomed the Departments of Health's 'Sharing The Vision' policy published yesterday but have called for targeted actions at addressing Traveller mental health inequalities.

The organisation have said that the long-awaited mental health policy is "disappointing," following previous concerns that Travellers' needs are not being met.

Travellers' have a suicide rate that is six times that of the national average.

Mental health worker Patrick Reilly has said: “Traveller mental health was at crisis stage before COVID-19 and has been exacerbated by the pressures of this crisis. Access to culturally appropriate services are needed now more than ever."

Meanwhile, Pavee Point mental health worker Geraldine McDonnell has called for Traveller inclusion and representation on the National Implementation and Monitoring Committee of ‘Sharing the Vision’.

“Travellers mental health needs must be recognised if solutions are to be identified that meet our needs - mental health is an issue that touches the lives of most Traveller families," she said.

In welcoming the approach outlined in ‘Sharing the Vision’ which recognises that education, employment, accommodation and physical health all impact on our mental health as well as the important role of community development programmes in promoting positive mental health, Gráinne Meehan, Mental Health Advocacy Co-ordinator said: “It’s disappointing that resources are not identified for its implementation."

"Pavee Point is ready to take up our role in ensuring  ‘Sharing the Vision’ leads to real change in the mental health status of the Traveller community," she continued.

According to a 2019 report by the National Traveller Mental Health Network, 82 percent of the community have been affected by suicide with 90 percent agreeing that mental health issues are common amongst the community.

© 2020 by EMPWR

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