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Need for Traveller community mental health plan raised by study

By Reporter - 20th Oct 2023

northern ireland

A new study has found that there is a  range of community supports, services and actions that members of the Traveller community deem essential in “promoting and protecting their mental health and wellbeing”.

The study titled  ‘Traveller Mental Wellness Continuum: A qualitative peer research study of Travellers’ views’ was the result of work by the HSE network of Mental Health Service Coordinators for Travellers, in collaboration with the Health Promotion Research Centre in University of Galway.

The other key findings from the study of Travellers’ views were “the importance of improving educational, training and employment opportunities, improving Traveller accommodation, curbing discrimination while celebrating and reviving Traveller culture”.

Respondents also expressed the need for “improving access to culturally appropriate mental healthcare”.

The study was funded by the HSE National Office of Suicide Prevention and the HSE Mental Health Engagement and Recovery national office.

Speaking at the launch, Julie Duke, HSE Traveller Peer Support Worker and member of the Traveller Community, said  “An overarching recommendation stemming from this study is the implementation of a national plan to address the distinct mental health needs of the Traveller community.”

“It’s vital that this national plan be spearheaded by Travellers themselves, with collaboration and support from both national and local agencies.”

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