Year: 2022 Source: Crisis. (2021). 43(2): 149-156. SIEC No: 20220303

Background: Suicide is a serious problem in the Traveller community, with rates estimated at 11%: over 6 times that of the general population. Aims: We aimed to establish the prevalence and correlates of suicidal ideation (SI) and self-harm (SH) among Irish Travellers. Method: This was an observational cross-sectional cohort study of patients presenting with SH and SI to a tertiary hospital in Ireland, in an area with a large local Traveller population. Data were analyzed from the anonymized database (n = 2,016), comparing characteristics of Travellers and the general population. Results: This study found that Travellers (1.6% of the local population) represent 4.3% of the population seen in hospital with SH and SI, and 14.8% of episodes. There was a significant difference in SH methods used: Travellers were significantly more likely to present following attempted hanging (OR = 21.8; p = .004). Travellers were more commonly diagnosed with depression or substance abuse, referred from critical care, and transferred for inpatient psychiatric treatment. Limitations: Limitations include the use of retrospective data from a service activity database rather than clinical information collected prospectively. Conclusion: There are significant differences in patterns of suicidal behaviors between Irish Travellers and the general population. Further research is required to understand and address the high rates of suicidal behaviors in this population.