A play looking at the issue of suicide in the Traveller community was performed in Blanchardstown this week to launch a mental health initiative.
Blanchardstown Traveller Development Group (BTDG) launched its mental health leaflet on Tuesday, March 5 in the Draiocht Theatre.
The performance of Magpies on the Pylon, written and directed by Traveller actor Michael Collins, looks at the impact of suicide on the family and on where they live.
It also looks at the exclusion faced by members of the Traveller community and the way they view services and supports on offer.
According to a recent survey, Travellers have a suicide rate that is six times the national average, with an estimated 80% unemployment rate.
BTDG chairperson Freda Hughes said: “No matter who we are, or what background we come from, we are all shaped by the cultural context which we grew up in.
“It shapes how we understand and make sense of the world around us. It shapes our understanding of our health and of our mental health and wellbeing.
“People who are from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds and socially excluded groups will have different perceptions of what good health means and what is meant by good mental health.”
Ms Hughes said services needed to be inclusive and where possible tailored to the community they’re aimed at, adding: “It has been shown that one size does not fit all, and that this perspective unknowingly excludes people from marginalised groups.”
The leaflet provides practical tips for looking after your mental health as well as providing useful contact numbers for local services.
BTDG was founded in 1992 by locals concerned about living conditions of Travellers in the Blanchardstown area, including families on Grove Road who were served eviction notices for the development of Blanchardstown Shopping Centre.
It is based in Ladyswell, Tyrrelstown and can be contacted at 01 820 7812.