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Review of National Intercultural Health Strategy underway

By David Lynch - 27th Aug 2023

National Intercultural Health Strategy

A review of the second National Intercultural Health Strategy is due to be completed by December, the Medical Independent (MI) understands.

In March, the Government published the National Action Plan Against Racism 2023-2027 (NAPAR).

In the health section of the NAPAR, there is a recommendation that the second National Intercultural Health Strategy be reviewed “in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on minority ethnic groups”.

The NAPAR also noted the “urgent need” for targeted mental health supports, suicide prevention, and bereavement supports for minority ethnic groups.

It stated “action should be taken to develop, publish, and implement” specific policies to address ethnic health differentials.

A HSE spokesperson confirmed to MI that the National Social Inclusion Office has recently commissioned a review of the second National Intercultural Health Strategy to be completed by the end of the year.

“The review will provide an implementation progress rating for all actions, outlining evidence of good practice and present conclusions and recommendations for further actions,” the spokesperson added.

The review will consist of in-depth desk-based documentary research, one-to-one online interviews with stakeholders, focus groups, and an online survey for members of the public, members of the HSE, and allied organisations.

On the issue of targeted suicide prevention noted in the NAPAR, the HSE spokesperson pointed to the initiatives under Connecting for Life: Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide (2015-2024).

“To inform the development of Connecting for Life, various population groups were examined to profile the groups most vulnerable to suicide in Ireland,” the spokesperson told MI. “There are other groups with potentially increased risk of suicidal behaviour where the research evidence is either less consistent or limited.” The spokesperson said these groups include asylum seekers, refugees, migrants, sex workers, and people with a chronic illness or disability.

The spokesperson added that a recently approved HSE migrant health service plan incorporates guidance on the establishment of funded regional psychosocial response teams.

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