New report on tackling suicide inequalities in Romany and Traveller communities released

Today, Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) released a new report on tackling suicide inequalities in Gypsy and Traveller communities, produced in collaboration with the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID).

The report, which can also be seen here in full, aims to provide guidance for public health and healthcare professionals on how to ensure Gypsy and Traveller communities are included within suicide prevention planning and support.

The interactive report covers a range of areas relating to suicide prevention, such as social risk factors for poor mental health and high suicide incidence, as well as examples of Good Practice.

Gypsy and Traveller communities are known to face some of the most severe health inequalities and poorest life outcomes amongst the United Kingdom population.

Currently, Romany and Traveller people are:

  • Nearly three times more likely to be anxious than others;
  • Over twice as likely to experience depression; and
  • Estimated to have life expectancies between 10-25 years shorter than the general population

Evidence also suggests that Irish Traveller people are 6-7 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population. Gypsy and Traveller civil society groups often report a similarly stark picture across England.

Despite the significance of this issue, FFT research has previously found that only 5 out of 79 local suicide prevention plans in England mention Gypsy and Traveller communities.

Speaking about the report, Josie Garrett, Health Policy Lead at Friends, Families and Travellers said:

“Gypsy and Traveller communities are too often missed in mainstream datasets, leading to professionals feeling unsure of where to begin.

This report marks an important step towards tackling the tragic levels of suicide prevalence in Romany and Traveller communities”.

Mattey Mitchell, Romany campaigner and Health Campaigns Officer at Friends, Families and Travellers added:

“Reports of this kind are not only a rarity; they are also vital. Suicide prevalence among Gypsy and Traveller communities exists beyond the literature.

Each loss we experience is a human being, and this is unfortunately a lived experience for individuals, for families and for entire communities. It’s time now that we genuinely reflect on this dire gap in provision and ensure that local mental health support is inclusive of Romany and Traveller people.”


Notes for Editor

About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)

Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works to end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and to protect the right to pursue a nomadic way of life.

Media Contact

Sami McLaren, Communications and Campaigns Lead

Tel: 07436 228910 Email: [email protected]

Relevant Resources

‘Tackling Suicide Inequalities in Gypsy and Traveller Communities’. Friends, Families and Travellers. September 2022. View report.

‘FFT report reveals Government failure to address suicide inequalities in Gypsy and Traveller communities’. Friends, Families and Travellers. August 2020. View report.

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