Mass hysteria affects teaching and learning activities in school

Lamjung, August 31

Mass hysteria which has been reported among female students at Buddha Milan Secondary School in Pyarjung of Rainash VDC-12, Lamjung, has disrupted regular lessons for the  last two months.

The mass hysteria that broke out at the school on June 21 has continued to cause great disturbance.

“Initially it started with two girls behaving abnormally on June 21, compelling us to suspend all lessons and close the school. When we resumed classes almost 15 days later, the abnormal behaviour recurred. Instead of improving, the problem has intensified, with students displaying extraordinary symptoms every day,” head teacher Amar Neupane said.

The students complain of severe headache and stomach-ache. They tend to stare with dilated pupils and tremble when they are struck with hysteria, said Neupane. So far, mass hysteria has been observed in five students of Grade VI, five of VII, two of VIII and one student of grade IX, according to Neupane.

Neuapne complained that increasing cases of mass hysteria had made it hard to run classes. Immediately after students are attacked with hysteria, they are taken to Gaunda Health Post for treatment.

When the students did not respond to medical treatment, parents and guardians resorted to shamanism to cure their wards of the disease. “A shaman was called and a hen was sacrificed as advised; as this wards off anything auspicious or unholy,” a local said.

Dr Sushmita Khadka, a medical officer at Lamjung District Community Hospital said mass hysteria is a form of mental ailment. The disease, which is seen in one or two students initially has the tendency to spread to other group members. “Counselling may be the only way of treatment. However, the affected students should be counselled separately. If kept together, this disease can never be cured,” Khadka said.