To the editors:

The Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago congratulates David Burke on an informative, sensitive portrait of Andy, a man with schizophrenia [January 27]. It is an important lesson that schizophrenia is most threatening to the person who is ill, and not to those around him.

Two other issues must be emphasized. First, most people who have schizophrenia are less disabled than Andy appears to be. Many get well, once they get beyond that initial crisis. These facts illustrate the importance of crisis clinics and rehabilitation services in meeting the mental health challenge.

Second, medical research continues to advance regarding causes and cures for schizophrenia. Improved treatment, and perhaps even prevention, is not far over the horizon.

In the meantime, we need compassion and continued interest such as that shown by the Reader this week.

Ann Boisclair, ACSW

Director of Public Policy

Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago