Addressing the impact of social exclusion on mental health in Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities

Annie Yin‐Har Lau (Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Abingdon, UK)
Michael Ridge (MA and DipSW in Social Work is a Community Social Worker, Haringey Travelling People's Team at Haringey Council, London, UK)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Publication date: 15 August 2011



The purpose of this paper is to look at the impact of social exclusion on mental health in Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller (GRT) communities and make suggestions for services needed to address it. The context of significant financial cuts in public sector budgets in the UK and change in the commissioning landscape mean there are significant risks of these vulnerable communities falling even further behind.


The authors, both currently engaged in clinical practice, draw on mental health and social work perspectives to review key areas in which social exclusion impacts on the life chances of members of GRT communities. Some examples of good current provision are included as is a case study which illustrates the problematic social context in contemporary relations between traditional Gypsy/Travellers and the settled community, and the impact on family life.


Research findings from contemporary studies are cited, which show members of these communities suffer significant inequalities in all health and social spheres.

Research limitations/implications

The GRT communities have not been listed in census categories until this year (2011).

Social implications

The paper will hopefully contribute to raising public awareness, and support members of the community in participation in policy and decision making.


This paper arises out of interdisciplinary collaboration between a psychiatrist and a social worker with the support of the voluntary sector. The discussion highlights the gaps in commissioning arrangements and hitherto poor support for health and social care needs of the GRT communities.



Yin‐Har Lau, A. and Ridge, M. (2011), "Addressing the impact of social exclusion on mental health in Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 129-137.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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