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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 216-221

Mental health in mass gatherings


1 Department of Psychiatry, Base Hospital Delhi Cantt, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, VKS University, Patna, Bihar, India

Correspondence Address:
Shahbaz Ali Khan
Department of Psychiatry, Base Hospital Delhi Cantt, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_15_17

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Background: Hajj pilgrimage, in Saudi Arabia, is one of the world's largest religious mass gatherings. We have similar mass gathering scenarios in India such as the Amarnath Yatra and Kumbh. A unique combination of physical, physiological, and psychological factors makes this pilgrimage a very stressful milieu. We studied the emergence of psychopathology and its determinants, in this adverse environment in mass gathering situation, in Indian pilgrims on Hajj 2016. Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive study analyzing the mental morbidity in 1.36 lakh Indian pilgrims during Hajj 2016, using SPSS software version 19. Results: Totally 182 patients reported psychological problems. Twenty-two patients (12%) required admission. Twelve (6.8%) pilgrims reported a past history of a mental illness. One hundred and sixty-five (93.2%) patients never had any mental symptoms earlier in life. The most common illnesses seen were stress related (45.7%) followed by psychosis (9.8%), insomnia (7.3%), and mood disorders (5.6%). The most common symptoms recorded were apprehension (45%), sleep (55%), anxiety (41%), and fear of being lost (27%). Psychotropics were prescribed for 46% of pilgrims. All patients completed their Hajj successfully and returned to India. Conclusions: Cumulative stress causes full spectrum of mental decompensation, and prompt healing is aided by simple nonpharmacological measures including social support and counseling in compatible sociolinguistic milieu.


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