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Travellersuicides soaring

ThE shame and stigma of admitting a mental health problem is driving members of the Travelling community to suicide, it has emerged.

Petra Daly, director of the National Traveller Suicide Project, revealed her office has been told about 12 Traveller deaths by suicide so far this year.

Studies show suicide rates among the Traveller community are six times higher than in the settled population, accounting for at least 11pc of all deaths.

Ms Daly said the statistics were "horrifying".

"There is an urgent need to begin to deal with and understand the reality of suicide and mental health issues and how they affect the Traveller community and other minority groups," she said.

"People feel shame and stigma admitting they are struggling and when they do find the courage to look for help, it can be extremely frustrating when services don't understand their culture."

There are an estimated 30,000 Travellers in Ireland.

hnews@herald.ie