Traveller mental health has been identified as one of the most pressing issues for Traveller advocacy groups across Ireland.
In response Cork CYPSC in collaboration with Good Shepherds Cork, The Traveller Visibility Group (TVG), The HSE Traveller Health Project, Tusla Springboard and the Cork Traveller Women’s Network set up the ‘Keeping Young Travellers Well’ sub group with the aim of delivering a programme of activities utilising the Community Mental Health Fund (CMHF).
The four aims to be met through the programme of activities were:
To generate discussion on racism and discrimination amongst young Travellers encouraging them to share personal Insights if comfortable to do so
To engage young Travellers in a range of activities, upskilling them in the process
To build solidarity between young Travellers and the settled population as well as between young Travellers and members of other ethnic minority groups
To produce recommendations for youth services, to make their services more culturally appropriate and inclusive for Travellers
The Cork Traveller Visibility (TVG) Group delivered a series of workshops, one with each of their two Traveller Girls Groups and a third with a Traveller Boys Group over a 6-week period.
The young Travellers who attended were aged between 16 and 21. The workshops were facilitated by Cork Migrant Centre and tutors from Cork Education and Training Board alongside Traveller Community Health workers and other TVG staff.
TVG worked creatively with young people to produce an animation and a practical focused report with recommendations to youth and other services accessed by young Travellers in Cork.
“Traveller mental health has been identified as one of the most pressing issues for Traveller advocacy groups across Ireland. The All Ireland Traveller Health Study (AITHS) indicated that suicide was the cause of 11% of all Traveller deaths in 2010. The crisis is even more acute when it comes to the mental health of young Travellers, many who have faced fresh challenges presented by the Covid 19 pandemic and its implications for their future”
The animation and report called Measuring the Impact of Discrimination on Traveller Youth Mental Health (TVG, 2022) highlight a number of concerns raised by the young people including
- the discrimination that they face In shops, in education settings and In the workplace.
- the negative portrayal of Travellers in the media which makes young people question their self-worth and which has a negative impact on their mental health and self esteem.
Young People report that their movements are tracked in shops because of the stereotypes of Travellers as ‘thieves’ and ‘alcoholics’. These incidents make young people feel annoyed, ashamed and embarrassed.
The TVG animation on the Impact of Racism, Exclusion and Discrimination on young Travellers.
The Measuring the Impact of Discrimination on Traveller Youth Mental Health report has a series of seven recommendations which aim to ensure youth services and other services are inclusive and genuinely open and welcoming to Travellers.
The ‘Keeping Young Travellers Well’ Steering Group through Cork CYPSC has recently commissioned a local researcher to complete an evaluation of the Comunity Mental Health Fund projects with the aim of learning from all Traveller participants. This evaluation will influence the future work of Cork CYPSC and agencies working with young Travellers.
Learn more about Cork CYPSC.
Read more CYPSC News.