Travellers are six times more likely to die by suicide

A conference is being held in Dublin to discuss mental health issues among the community

There have been calls for greater mental health services for travellers amid reports of higher suicide rates in the community.

Studies show that travellers are six-times more likely to die by suicide than members of the general public.

Patricia McKeever is from the national travellers service, Exchange House.

Successive studies have shown the suicide rate among the travelling community is significantly higher. It counts for 11% of all deaths.

Some of the reasons are trouble with accommodation, education and a general lack of services.

Sé O'Connor is the CEO of Exchange House. He says there needs to be joint work between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and traveller-specific services.

Today's conference on mental health heard that no two people are the same, and there needs to be a move away from tarring people with the one brush.

It also heard that travellers have issues as well - and face the same mental health problems and stigmas as the settled community.

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article you can contact Samaritans free any time from any phone on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.ie to find details of your nearest branch. You can also find online information at www.yourmentalhealth.ie