Using an Intersectional Approach to Explore the Lived Mental Health Experiences of Traveller Men Affected by Suicide in Ireland

Noel Richardson, Karolyn McDonnell, Paula Carroll, Shane O’Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Rates of suicide are seven times higher among Traveller men, an Indigenous ethnic minority group in Ireland, compared with non-Traveller men. Several factors are implicated, including racism, social exclusion, discrimination, inadequate accommodation, unemployment, and lower educational attainment. Systemic and cultural barriers inhibit Traveller men from seeking support. This study addresses a gap in the literature by exploring the lived mental health experiences of Traveller men affected by suicide. Semi-structured interviews (n = 13; aged 19–50) were conducted with Traveller men affected by suicide. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic content analysis was used to analyze the data, which yielded three broad themes. Theme 1, “key determinants of Traveller men’s mental health,” describes the impact on Traveller men of issues relating to accommodation/homelessness, education, and unemployment, as well as frequent exposure to prejudice, discrimination, and racism. Theme 2, “contemporary Traveller masculinities,” considers how Traveller masculinities were shaped by a patrilineal tradition and by historical/ongoing tensions related to their ethnicity. Theme 3, “navigating support seeking and coping with distress,” encapsulates both resistant and proactive approaches used by participants to manage their mental health. The intersection of structural inequalities, internalized racism, Traveller masculinities, and strong historical associations between stigma and mental health/suicide within the Traveller community lies at the heart of the heavy burden of suicide carried by Traveller men. Findings provide a deeper understanding of the sources of distress and pathways to resilience/recovery among Traveller men affected by suicide and can inform the development of more gender- and culturally appropriate suicide prevention interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15579883231189063
JournalAmerican Journal of Men's Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2023


  • ethnic minority
  • intersectionality
  • suicide
  • Traveller masculinities


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