Charity to tackle suicide in Gypsy and Traveller communities

21 September 2021
Charity to tackle suicide in Gypsy and Traveller communities

To build a greater understanding of suicide, Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) are reaching out to Gypsy and Traveller people with the aim of using their experience to pressure the Government to provide specialist help and support.

Official data shows that Irish Traveller people living in Ireland are up to six times as likely to die by suicide than members of the general population.  FFT believe that the figures in England, Scotland and Wales are similar and that the Government can and should be taking action to address this.

Data on deaths by suicide in Gypsy and Traveller communities is not collected in England, Scotland and Wales and this means the Government know little about how suicide impacts Gypsy and Traveller people. Without data, it is difficult to make the case that there should be more support for Gypsy and Traveller people who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts – and FFT aim to change this.

We are asking people who know a Gypsy or Traveller person who has died by suicide to share their details with us so we can build an evidence base of those people who have died by suicide from Gypsy and Traveller communities, say FFT. You can take part in the study here. 

WATCH. FFT’s Mattey Mitchell talks about suicide among Gypsy and Traveller people and how FFT are trying to tackle it:

Speaking about the new study, Emma Bray, Health Promotion Officer at Friends, Families and Travellers said:

“It not uncommon to know someone who had died by suicide but we know for Irish Travellers in Ireland, you’re six times more likely to experience the loss of a loved one, or be affected by suicide. We need to know if these numbers are similar in the UK so we can make sure support is in place for Gypsies and Travellers. This work is well overdue and needed now more than ever.”

 Reflecting on the study, Josie Garrett, Policy Coordinator at Friends, Families and Travellers said:

“We know that talking about suicide can be extremely difficult, but by talking about it, we can start to make things better. We are asking anyone who knows a Gypsy or Traveller to have died by suicide to complete our survey. With your help, we can call for better and more accessible mental health services for Gypsy and Traveller people.”

“When my dad took his own life he left a big hole in people’s lives.” Traveller Tom Jones talks about the death of his father and how it drove him to raise thousands of pounds for the Samaritans in a six-day charity hike: Traveller man’s six day hike set to raise money for the Samaritans | Travellers Times

Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works on behalf of all Gypsies, Roma and Travellers regardless of ethnicity, culture or background.

TT News/FFT press release

(Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash)

If you are affected by the issues raised in this article and need support or help, whatever you're going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. We're here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call the Samaritans free helpline on 116 123