Patricia and Ronan of Exchange House Ireland National Travellers Suicide Prevention Service (NTSPS) spent the past week and a half looking back on all that they achieved in 2014. To say they were stunned at the amount of wonderful people in the Traveller community they had met or the vast array of events they had hosted, partnered or attended is an understatement.
In total, NTSPS worked in 17 of the 26 counties, met with over 1,000 members of the Traveller community, with 183 services, supported and co-ordinated 9 local and regional events, delivered 50 tailored trainings on mental health and suicide prevention and 7 SafeTALKs. The team also went through numerous coffees, 3 lightbulb replacements, 2 cracked windscreens, 1 broken crank shaft, 1 exhausted timing belt, some dodgy car electrics that lit up the dashboard like a rave, and one car! Not bad for a team of 2, eh?
Of course the work of NTSPS would not be possible without the support and partnership of local services. NTSPS would like to thank our former intern Cáitlin Mc Loughlin, Blanchardstown Traveller Development Group, Kerry Travellers Health and Community Development Project, Longford Travellers, Offaly Traveller Movement, Parish of the Travelling People, Pavee GAA, Southside Traveller Action Group, St. Catherine’s Community Services Centre, Carlow and of course our colleagues in Travelling to Wellbeing whose support, patience and wisdom have been essential.
We know that 2014 was also a year where communities, families and individuals experienced untold pain and loss. We remember those members of the Traveller community who died by suicide in 2014. The pain of suicide is there in every Traveller community. It can be overwhelming but it is also powerful. NTSPS has seen and supported Traveller communities affected by suicide to come together and look at ways to make their communities suicide safer for future generations.
We look to 2015 with hope; hope that we can make a difference, hope that we can create suicide safer communities, hope that Travellers can reach out to their friends, family and services for support and that friends, family and services can reach in to those in need and say ‘I’m here to listen’.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all –
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