The text of the amendment is as follows:
In page 10, between lines 10 and 11, to insert the following subsections:
"(1) The Commission appointed under this Act shall, within 12 months of its appointment, publish a comprehensive plan to address the totality of psychiatric service needs, together with a time plan for such needs to be met. Such plan shall be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas.
(2) The Commission shall, within six months of appointment oversee the creation of an extensive network of community based psychiatric services with specialist and multi-disciplinary teams accessible to all who need such services, and especially those in danger of suicide."
Deputy McManus moved an amendment to change the name of the Bill from the Mental Health Bill, 1999, to the Mental Health (Involuntary Admissions) Bill, 1999, but the Minister declined to accept the amendment. Therefore, the Minister claims this is a mental health Bill. However, there is a real need to bring mental health services into the 21st century and to provide a much more comprehensive treatment of the needs of people with mental health problems. The amendment which has been ruled out of order proposed to bring about that the commission, which it is proposed to appoint under the Bill, would "within 12 months of its appointment, publish a comprehensive plan to address the totality of psychiatric service needs, together with a time plan for such needs to be met" and that the plan be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas The amendment also states that "The commission shall, within six months of appointment oversee the creation of an extensive network of community based psychiatric services with specialist and multi-disciplinary teams accessible to all who need such services, and especially those in danger of suicide".
Unless we get to the stage where we have comprehensive and multi-disciplinary, community based services we will pack our prisons and mental institutions and hospitals with people who could otherwise be dealt with in the community. Deputy Neville, who has co-sponsored the amendment, has been a leader in this area. For many years we have swept the incidence ofsuicide, particularly among young males, under the carpet. The incidence of suicide among young males is increasing as we become more prosperous. They seem to have lost their role in society and no longer know what is expected of them, which is contributing to mental disorder and suicide. For good or ill there was a time when the male was the provider and he knew his place in society.
If we could return to the stage where we could deliver on a community basis preventive psychiatric services in a comprehensive way I do not think that many of those in prison would be there. Equally, many of those in mental institutions would not be there. We are losing a golden opportunity to empower the commission to address the totality of needs of the psychiatric service, as is proposed in the amendment. If this really was a Bill concerned with mental health we would be dealing with this. We have unprecedented resources to deal with these issues.
I am very disappointed that my amendment has been ruled out of order on the basis that it would impose a charge on the Exchequer. However, that does not mean the Minister cannot introduce such an amendment, as he can introduce proposals which would result in a charge on the Exchequer, and I ask him to consider doing so on Report Stage. We should have a comprehensive approach in terms of the Bill.