Wednesday 1st March 2017
Speaking this evening (Wednesday 1st March), Minister for Mental Health Helen Mc Entee has warmly welcomed today’s announcement, saying “I am delighted to welcome the formal recognition of Traveller ethnicity.
We know that Travellers can experience barriers to mental health services, such as social and cultural stigma. We know that Travellers have much higher rates of self-harm and suicide. We can see this reflected in the identification of Travellers as a priority group in Connecting for Life, our national strategy to reduce suicide and self-harm.
The HSE, along with Traveller representative organisations, have a number of projects that work specifically on Traveller Health issues and we have practice guidelines in place for healthcare staff who work with members of the Traveller Community to foster culturally competent and inclusive services. These are positive steps working towards equal access to mental health services for all, but we must tackle this issue from all angles. The respect and recognition of Traveller ethnicity is one such step, and one that I am proud to welcome.”
A new National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy is currently being finalised. The Strategy is intended to bring about important changes to the lives of the Traveller and Roma communities in Ireland.