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Prevalence and experience of harassment of people with mental health problems living in the community

  • Kathryn M. Berzins (a1), Alison Petch (a1) and Jacqueline M. Atkinson (a2)
Abstract
Background

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.

Aims

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.

Method

Experiences of harassment were collected by interviewing 165 individuals with mental health problems and a control group of 165 people from the general population.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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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Copyright
Corresponding author
Kathryn M. Berzins, Nuffield Centre for Community Care Studies, University of Glasgow, Gregory Building, 27 Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK. Tel: 0141 330 5600; fax: 0141 3304976; e-mail: K.M.Berzins@clinmed.gla.ac.uk
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

This study was funded by the Communities Fund and was the result of a partnership between the Nuffield Centre for Community Care Studies, University of Glasgow, the National Schizophrenia Fellowship (Scotland) and the Scottish users' network.

Footnotes
References
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Brockington, I., Hall, P., Levings, J., et al (1993) The community's tolerance of the mentally ill. British Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 9399.
Department of Health (2001) Mind Out for Mental Health (online): http://www.mindout.net/
Hall, P., Brockington, I. F., Levings, J., et al (1993) A comparison of responses to the mentally ill in two communities. British Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 99108.
Huxley, P. (1993) Location and stigma: a survey of community attitudes to mental illness. Journal of Mental Health, 2, 7380.
Kelly, L. & McKenna, H. (1997) Victimization of people with enduring mental illness in the community. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 3, 185191.
Read, J. & Baker, S. (1996) Not Just Sticks and Stones. London: MIND.
Royal College of Psychiatrists (2001) Changing Minds (online): http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/campaigns/cminds/index.htm
Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (2002) Breaking the Circles of Fear: a Review of the Relationship between Mental Health Services and African and Caribbean Communities. London: Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health.
Scottish Executive (1997) Scottish Framework for Mental Health Services. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive.
Social Exclusion Unit (2002) Minority Ethnic Issues in Social Exclusion and Neighbourhood Renewal. London: Social Exclusion Unit.
Wolff, G., Pathare, S., Craig, T., et al (1996) Community attitudes to mental illness. British Journal of Psychiatry, 168, 183190.
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Prevalence and experience of harassment of people with mental health problems living in the community

  • Kathryn M. Berzins (a1), Alison Petch (a1) and Jacqueline M. Atkinson (a2)
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