Introduction: Mental disorders are among the major causes of impairment which results in serious economical, social and other consequences. Many people with this disorder get religious help before or after getting modern treatment. Despite this there is lack of information which indicates the magnitude of mental illness among holy water users and associated factors.
Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence and associated factors of mental illness among holy water users at Entoto St. Mary Church, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2014.
Method: Cross sectional study design was conducted from April 28-May 28, 2014 at Entoto St. Mary church. A total of 416 holy water users were included in the study. The participants were selected using systematic random sampling method. Data were collected by face-to-face interviews using structured questionnaire for socio demographic factors, substance related factors using WHO’s ASSIST, interview and observation by Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) for mental illness symptoms and clinical factors were collected using structured questionnaires.
Result: A total of 416 participants were interviewed and observed with a response rate of 98.35%. The prevalence of mental illness was 60.1% with 95% CI, (54.34, 65.86). Being jobless [AOR=2.42, 95% CI (1.37,4.28)], ever use of more than one substance (i.e. alcohol, tobacco, khat and cannabis) [AOR=2.4, 95% CI (1.39, 4.17)], current daily drinking of alcohol [AOR=5.08, 95% CI (2.08, 12.2)], having previous history of mental illness [AOR=5.82, 95% CI (2.732,12.378)] and having a known medical or surgical problem [AOR=2.46, 95% CI (1.39,4.34)] were significantly associated with mental illness.
Conclusion: More than half of holy water users had mental illness so it needs to give attention to develop reference link between psychiatric institutions and religious places, people’s awareness about the cause, consequence and treatment options of mental illness must be enhanced.