The levels and experiences of harassment of people with mental health problems in the community compared with those of the general population have not been explored.
To measure the levels and experience of harassment experienced by people with mental health problems in the community in Scotland and compare them with the general population.
Experiences of harassment were collected by interviewing 165 individuals with mental health problems and a control group of 165 people from the general population.
Harassment in the community was found to be twice as common for individuals with mental health problems (41%) than for those in the general population (15%). The harassment commonly involved verbal abuse referring to the individual's mental health problems and was committed primarily by teenagers and neighbours.
Harassment has a significantly higher prevalence among individuals with mental health problems living in the community and is believed to have a detrimental effect on mental health.
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