Friends, Families and Travellers

Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national organisation working to end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and to protect the right to pursue a nomadic way of life. We support individuals and families with the issues that matter most to them, at the same time as working to transform systems and institutions to address the root causes of inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people.

Our Vision for Change includes advocating for issues in health, accommodation, education and hate. We are members of the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance and secretariat for the APPG for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

FFT have been active in researching suicide prevalence in Gypsy and Traveller communities. This research bridges a data gap in the number of Gypsies and Travellers who die by suicide in England, despite literature outside Britain indicating death by suicide may occur 6x more frequently for members of Traveller communities. During our research phase to collect data on suicide prevalence, we have also been active in the launch of a suicide inequalities report – released in collaboration with OHID – which attempts to outline the issue and act as a practical guide for those keen to address this issue in their service delivery.

What are your current priorities?

Our current priorities are bridging the data gap for death by suicide in Gypsy and Traveller communities, as well as advocating for better representation for Gypsies and Travellers in services that seek to reduce suicide prevalence (such as national suicide action plans, and representation in the charity sector).

What challenges are you currently facing?

A great lack of data still exists for suicide and mental health more broadly for our beneficiaries. Despite literature outside Britain (NI) indicating suicide prevalence significantly higher than the general population, this makes it difficult for us to advocate for meaningful change.