Pervasive racism and consistent discrimination is the primary root cause of suicide in the Traveller community, according to a new report.
The review, commissioned by the Ballyfermot Traveller Action Project, Tallaght Travellers CDP and Clondalkin Travellers Development Group, found discrimination and racism are part of daily experiences in a Traveller's life and this in turn impacts on mental health.
The findings are based on the responses from 112 members of the Traveller community.
Launching the report, Senator Eileen Flynn said the community is facing a "mental health crisis".
"Traveller men are seven times more likely to die by suicide and Traveller women are six times more likely," she said.
"This is a crisis and it needs to be treated as a crisis."
Over two thirds of respondents (68%) said they had lost a family member, friend or loved one to suicide.
They identified that this can drive addiction and depression and it can have a contagion effect.
Senator Flynn called for better research in this area including the introduction of ethnic identifier data.
"We need to know how many Travellers are going through our mental health services and identify what supports they need," she said.
"What we are seeing is systematic racism and hatred."
Shay L'Estrange from the Ballyfermot Traveller Action Project added: "There are numerous quotes in the research where people are fearful of sending their children to school for fear they would experience racism during the day.
"That has had a deep impact on the children and on the wider community."
The report makes nine recommendations, including Traveller cultural awareness training for those who are providing suicide prevention services.
It also calls for racism to be addressed whenever and wherever it happens.
There are also calls to improve mental health services and the introduction of an ethnic identifier.
Senator Flynn also praised the work done by the 400 Traveller Primary Health Care workers.
She said despite their work in the community they have still not received their pandemic bonus of €1,000.
"These are women who live and breathe within the Traveller community so they are basically working 24 hours a day and they are being treated differently to other health care workers," Senator Flynn said.