This letter is in reference to “The Sick and the Dead” (7/11) by Stephanie Mencimer. I take exception to the author’s implication that most or all mentally ill people are out to kill someone.

Most mentally ill people are not schizophrenic or psychotic, as she seems to suggest. In fact, the most common mental health problem is depression. More often than not, mentally ill people are more of a danger to themselves than they are to others. The article seems to promote the view that everyone should run scared from anyone on the street who appears even vaguely nutty.

I wish the article had focused more on the real problem, which is a lack of funding for mental-health programs in the metro area. Attitudes such as those in the article are what prevent our society from pouring more resources into improving its mental-health services. To truly become a more caring society, we would be better off with articles that tried to find solutions to the lack of funding. This way, the truly psychotic and dangerous people would be kept off the streets, and the others would be helped.

Laurel, Md.