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Home > Experience of discrimination and engagement with mental health and other services by Travellers in Ireland: findings from the All Ireland Traveller Health Study (AITHS).

Quirke, B and Heinen, M and Fitzpatrick, P and McKey, S and Malone, K M and Kelleher, C (2020) Experience of discrimination and engagement with mental health and other services by Travellers in Ireland: findings from the All Ireland Traveller Health Study (AITHS). Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine , Early online , pp. 1-11.

OBJECTIVES
Irish Travellers are an indigenous ethnic minority population in Ireland, with poor life expectancy. This study aims to identify factors associated with reported discrimination and how this affects their experiences of accessing and quality of health services, including mental health.

METHODS
The All Ireland Traveller Health Study was a cross-sectional census study in 2010. All Traveller families completed a survey questionnaire (n = 6540), and at random an adult selected from the family completed either a health status (health status study = 1547) or health services utilisation survey (HSU = 1576). Experience of discrimination (EOD) from the census was analysed in relation to HSU data on services used in the previous 12 months and reported experiences of access and quality of that health service. Census variables were analysed in relation to EOD and perceived discrimination (PD).

RESULTS
In the final models, EOD and PD were significantly associated with socio-demographic, socio-cultural and living conditions. The multivariate odds of reporting EOD ranged from OR 1.84 to 2.13 and were significant for those reporting worse opportunities in accessing health services, mental health (p = 0.001), hospitals (p < 0.001) and public health nurses (p < 0.001). The multivariate odds of reporting EOD ranged from OR 1.95 to 2.71 and remained significant for those who reported they had poorer experiences than others when using health services, quality of experience (OR 2.18, p =< 0.001), trust in providers (OR 1.95, p =< 0.001) and appropriate information (OR 2.71, p =< 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS
Travellers experience high levels of discrimination which negatively affects their engagement with health services. Culturally competent services need to be developed.


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