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.