Events have been held around the country today to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.
One of those in Tipperary was a balloon release at the Christ the King statue in the Glen of Aherlow.
It was organised by members of the Tipperary Rural Traveller Project, as it’s estimated one in 10 in the Traveller community die by suicide.
Speaking to Tipp FM News at the event, Margaret Casey, coordinator of the Project said more has to be done to address the problem:
“In this previous year, we had to carry children as young as 13 years to a graveyard to bury them. I think we need to work together.
“To lose somebody to suicide – grief has a way of revealing the kind of person that you are so you have more empathy, compassion and understanding.
“When you have a statistic seven times higher than the national average – 1 in 10 Travellers commits suicide – that’s a serious stastic.
“And I think, politically, it needs to be taken seriously.”
10 balloons were released at the ceremony, nine white and one blue.
Continuing, Margaret said that it appears as if, to the rest of the country, suicide within her community has almost become normalised:
“People automatically think it’s a part of our culture. It’s not a part of our culture.
“We want equal opportunities. We’re Irish people.
“… No more than any community of indigenous people or settled people, we have internal issues that we have to name and that we need addressed.
“Like online bullying is not just an issue for members of the Traveller community, but you have other issues that affect Traveller children as well on top of that, which makes it very difficult.”
The Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 on their freephone number, 116 123.