History of the National Traveller Suicide Awareness Project
- Due to the rising number of Travellers taking their own lives, early 2004 saw the beginning of the National Traveller suicide Awareness Project.
- With the support of The Parish of the Travelling community, Crosscare, National & local Traveller groups a working group was formed whose purpose was to develop a culturally appropriate plan to address the issue of suicide within the Traveller community.
- Crosscare was then approached to create a community development approach to the issue of suicide.
- In 2006 the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention funded a full time worker for a National Suicide Awareness Project which was hosted by Crosscare.
- A review highlighted the need to further develop work with Traveller men
- In 2011 two male workers were funded to work specifically with Traveller men on mental health & suicide prevention and awareness issues.
- In 2012 the Project went out for tender and was awarded to Exchange House National Travellers Service, where the aim remains to work with Travellers to reduce the suicide rate within their community.
Exchange House National Travellers Service
Exchange House is an organisation of Travellers and settled people working together to provide a range of front line services to some of the most marginalised members of the Traveller community. In particular we seek to target Traveller men, women and children within a human rights and equality framework. The services include Crisis Intervention, Outreach, Housing Support & Advice, Family Support, Social Work, Addiction Counselling & referral, Domestic Violence support and safety planning, Youth Work, Stay-in-School Programmes, AfterSchools, Summer Programmes, Drug Awareness, Mental Health Programme, Music & Drama, Residential & Away Trips, Adult Education, Adult Literacy, Adult Numeracy, Employment Training & Support, Career Education & Planning.
National Traveller Suicide Awareness Project employs a community development approach to address the issue of Traveller suicide, which is over six times higher for Traveller men compared to the general population. The project acts as a resource to Traveller organisations and suicide related services, raising awareness on the issue of suicide by promoting the development of initiatives, which in turn support suicide prevention, intervention and postvention in a coordinated way. With the ultimate goal of reducing the rate of attempted and completed suicide in the Traveller community. NTSAP works within the Exchange House Family Support Service, supported by our Youth Service and Education Service where even more support to Travellers in distress can be provided.