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01st Jun 2022

Traveller children as young as 11 are dying by suicide

Kat O'Connor

“Why do we have to bury children as young as 11, 12 and 13?”

The traveller community is calling for more mental health support.

A protest was held outside the Dail yesterday to highlight the struggles they are currently facing.

They called on the government to implement a standalone mental health strategy for travellers.

They are gravely concerned about the mental health struggles they’re facing because there is so little help available to them.

A spokesperson for the traveller community said “enough is enough”.

During the protest, Senator Eileen Flynn said nobody is taking responsibility for the dire situation the traveller community is living in.

She said: “The Government promised us a National Traveller Mental Health Strategy, to stop our young men and women from dying by suicide.

“I fear for the future of our young men, who are seven times more likely to die by suicide. Enough is enough.”

“People are dying due to discrimination … It’s so tough to be yourself and be a member of the Traveller community.

She added, “You can’t walk up the bleeding street that somebody has something to say to you, just because you’re a Traveller.”

Ms Flynn said children as young as 11 are dying by suicide.

“We are the most ill-treated people within Irish society.”

She said it is time for the government to listen to them. It is time for action because their community has suffered enough loss.

Ms. Flynn stressed that they need support and action now.

Mags Casey of the Traveller Mental Health Network echoed Flynn’s concerns.

“Why do we have to bury children as young as 11, 12 and 13? Young mothers and young fathers are dying. Our community is fragile.”

If you’re suffering mentally you can contact Samaritans on 116 123. You can also text HELLO to 50808 for mental health support.

Feature Image: National Traveller Mental Health Network