top of page
  • Writer's pictureCaroline Raphael

True State of Mental Illness .. we are not Mentally Healthy

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

We are being lied to when it is stated that we are an advanced society.

Warning: This content is graphic in nature and could be disturbing- please seek support if required

We may have taller buildings, be able to fly to the moon and fly at supersonic speeds and clone humans. However, and more importantly than any scientific or technological advancement …. as a humanity we are becoming increasingly unwell, both physically and mentally. The UN, 2022, states, and this is no over statement,

“…the world is facing a global health crisis

Despite greater access to information, resources, research, medications, more funding and trained mental health professionals than ever before, our rates of mental ill health are on a rapidly increasing and steep incline. We have pandemic rates of mental ill-health occurring globally. Below is just a snapshot of the magnitude of this very real and disturbing state of the world.

Disclaimer: I am not a statistician, the below is taken from my research from the plethora of information made widely available by the significant number of health authorities and agencies. This information is available to us all if we have the time or the inclination to look. I started this process for a paper I was writing and got so disturbed by the numbers I was reading, I decided to take a deeper dive into our current and dramatically rising pandemic rates of mental illness. I have been in the mental health industry for over 30 years, and I had no idea the depth of the issues I would uncover on this project.

I have to ask why is this not front-page news? Shockingly, We could say there are many invested in humanity being unwell, there is enough evidence out there now to prove this, medicine is a multi-billion dollar money-making industry_ but surely there is more to this story? For example, why do we accept such poor rates of health as a normal part of modern life, and why, proven by our lack of responsivity, do we defend this current level of ‘normal’ as a good way of life, instead of leaving no stone unturned to enable us to live nothing but joy-full and vital lives?

The below information is disturbing, and I have deliberately not pulled any punches, too often we cover up the extent of what is going on, yes, it is uncomfortable but until we are truly informed, we will not be motivated to change. Overlooking or avoiding the state of crisis people are in is not serving anyone.

SUICIDE: The WHO (2021, June 17) states that more than 703,000 people suicide ever year, and it has been reported that for every suicide there are at least another estimated 25 suicide attempts (SAVE, 2022), that equals at least 17,575000 human beings, wanting to end their lives, many more go unreported. Chatterjee et al, 2021 states that committing suicide is a direct contradiction towards the central purpose of human survival and evolution. When human beings are intrinsically wired to evolve, we must ask why so many are wanting to end their lives before it is complete?

SELF-HARM: A study across 40 countries found that at least 17% of all people will self-harm during their lifetime, that is roughly 1.326 Billion, 1326,000000 humans (The Recovery Village, 2022). Self-harm is defined as a deliberate act/behaviour done to oneself to cause pain or injury (Lifeline, 2022).

Some of the ways people harm themselves.

  • Cutting and mutilating their skin, including ripping, and tearing skin, often requiring stitches and hospitalization

  • Carving into their own skin, often carving symbols

  • Burning their skin – sometimes requiring hospitalization

  • Punching or hitting themselves – to the point of bleeding and bruising

  • Rubbing sharp objects into their skin, including glass

  • Hair-pulling – pulling out their own hair and sometimes eating it

  • Poisoning themselves with toxic chemicals, including drinking petrol, castor oil and other poisonous chemicals

  • Genital self-mutilation, including inserting metal wire, cables, tubs, straws, nails into penis and vaginas

  • Swallowing and inserting foreign objects, including razor blades, pens, broken CD’s, pieces of plastic, batteries, toothbrushes, broken glass. One woman has been reported to have inserted over 100 razor blades into her vagina. Medical staff decided not to remove the blades because she would only insert more, causing more damaged to her vaginal passage. A male was reported to have inserted 29 needles into his pelvic area through the skin between the rectum and the scrotum. (Simpson, et al. 1974, Tracy, 2022., Klein, 2012) .

EATING DISORDERS: National Eating disorders association (2022), has reported that 70 Million, 70,000000 people world-wide live with an eating disorder.

Common eating disorders, but not limited to include:

  • Pica – eating non-food items, including, clay, paper, dirt, chalk, hair

  • Rumination disorder – regurgitating food after eating it, and then swallowing it again

  • Muscle Dysmorphia – mental health condition where a person becomes fixated on a “perceived” body flaw. Includes eating meals in a regimented way and sticking to certain types of food, usually only a few types of meals.

  • Drunkorexia – typically a person who starves all day so they can get drunk at night

  • Pregorexia – pregnant women who exercise in excess and restrict food intake to avoid putting on weight. Pregorexia is a combination of two words, pregnancy, and anorexia.

  • Anorexia Nervosa – where a person deliberately starves themselves, often with long term physical consequences, including requiring hospitalisation and can cause death.

  • Bulimia Nervosa – where a person binges and then purges, usually by vomiting and can use laxatives, as well as extreme exercise. Long-term can cause significant damage to the physical body and sometimes death. One woman suffering from extreme bulimia nervosa, died due to her stomach rupturing, she died over the toilet on her own.

  • Binge Eating Disorder (BED)- regular, at least once a week, episodes of extreme overeating, usually described as a lack of control. Often eating till painfully full.

  • Compulsive Overeating (COE) – Uncontrollable overeating during times of stress or experiencing emotions that are not managed

(MedicineNet, 2022, Healthline, 2022)

This does not include Obesity. More on this below

DEPRESSION (medically diagnosed): In 2011 the WHO predicted that by 2030 depression will be the leading cause of disease burden globally and in 2021 reported that approx. 280,000000, 280 million people in the world will have depression.

ANXIETY (medically diagnosed): Estimated at 264,000,000, 264 million adults world-wide (WHO, 2017).

STRESS: One third of the world report to feeling stressed, this is approx. 2,999,999,999,67 people, that is almost 3 billion people (Gallup, 2017) again these are reported on the numbers that are considered debilitating – to have stress in your life is actually considered a normal part of life. And as the extreme behaviours associated with these disorders increase the accepted level of ‘normal’ also increases accordingly.

OBESITY: The WHO, 2008, stated that an escalating global epidemic of overweight and obesity ‘globesity’ – is taking over parts of the world” and this is problematic for multiple psychological and psychosomatic disorders” (Walsh, 2011, Oct). In 2016, more than 1,900,000,000, 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650,000,000, 650 million were obese (WHO. 2021 June, 9). Why do we not talk about why we comfort eat?

SLEEP DISORDERS: approximately 30 to 48% people world-wide suffer from insomnia. That is at least 3.5 billion, 3,500,000,000 people (Sleep Foundation, 2022, May 13).

SCHIZOPHRENIA: affects approximately 1 in 300 people worldwide, 24,000,000, 24 million people, and it is NOT as common as many other mental disorders (WHO. 2022, January 10).

BIPOLAR: 46,000,000, 46 million people around the world, including 2.8% of the U.S. population, have bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder, sometimes referred to as manic-depressive disorder, is characterized by dramatic shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels that affect a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. These shifts in mood and energy levels are more severe than the normal ups and downs that are experienced by everyone (NIH, 2022, and SingleCare, 2022).

BORDERLINE: Studies estimate that 1.6% of the population have borderline personality disorder (BPD), that is an estimate of 770,000,000, 770 million people. Someone experiencing BPD finds it difficult to regulate emotions, which often leads to negatively impacting on their relationships with others and has been described as difficult if not impossible to treat (NIH, 2022, May).

PSYCHOSIS: The pooled incidence of all psychotic disorders was 26·6 per 100 000 person’s (Jongsman, et al. 2019).

OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER: Approximately 2.3% of the population has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) with symptoms including fear of dirt or germs; constant and repetitive checking; repetitive and intrusive thoughts of a somatic, aggressive, or sexual nature; extreme slowness; and an inordinate concern with orderliness and symmetry. (SingleCare, 2022, Feb, Sasson, et al 2022). That is at least 141,000,000, 141 million people.

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD): Across the world, it is estimated that 1 to 6 percent of the general population will experience PTSD. PTSD often occurs after you have been through a trauma, where you feel yours or another’s life is in danger. Women are more likely to experience PTSD due to a sexual assault and or incidents of child sexual abuse. Men are more likely to experience trauma due to accidents, physical assault, being in combat, disaster, or to witness a disaster and or death/injury (Sareen, J. 2022, July). PTSD is notoriously difficult to treat. Based on 6%, that is a whopping 468,000,000, 468 million people.

DEMENTIA: It is estimated that world-wide 55 million people live with dementia, with approximately 10 million new cases every year. By 2050, 153,000,000 153 million people are expected to be living with dementia worldwide (WHO, 2021, Sept., The Lancet, 2022).

GAMING: Approximately 60,000,000, 60 million or more people suffer from gaming disorder (Stevens MW, Dorstyn D, et al., 2021) including many adolescents and adults wearing nappies so they can continue to game without having to get up to go to the toilet (Healthline, 2022). This has been socially normalised amongst the gaming community, with gamers recommending to each other the best adult nappy brands based on how many times they can urinate in the nappy before having to change it. The impacts on the nervous system and general health of non-stop gaming has resulted in death in some cases. Teenagers have been known to collapse in gaming parlours while those around them continue to play (The Escapist, 2010).

GAMBLING: Just in America alone, more than 10 million Americans live with a gambling addiction (The Recovery Village, 2022, May 02). At least 1% of the western world have a gambling addiction, that is at least 78,000,000, 78 million people (Xiuqin., et al. 2014). Gambling contributes to marriage and family breakdowns and impacts the social welfare of addicts.

PORNOGRAPHY: In America approx. 200,000 people are classified as ‘porn addicts’, these numbers are considered as inaccurate as to the true extent of porn addiction and the detrimental impact of the increase of pornography use is still to be determined (MedCircle, 2020, June 28). Up to 13% of the Chinese population are reported to have “problematic” pornography use (Chen, 2022). According to my rough calculations, just in China and America alone that is, 195,000,000, 195 million people. Excessive pornography is said to cause serious problems impacting on a person’s ability to function in daily life. Impacts include feeling a sense of shame, dissatisfaction with their sex life, relationship breakdowns, financial strain due to inability to go to work and spending large sums of money on pornography, possibly at the expense of daily or family necessities (MedicalNewsToday, 2020).

ALCOHOLISM: Globally 107,000,000, 107 million people are estimated to have an alcohol use disorder and every year globally alcohol consumption causes 2.8 million premature deaths (Our World in Data, 2022, Jan).

ILLICIT DRUG USE: It is estimated that 246,000,000, 246 million people in 2013 used illicit drugs and it is estimated that close to 200,000 individuals die annually due to illicit drugs (United Nations, 2015). These statistics are from nearly 10 years ago, it is my informed prediction that these numbers would be significantly higher.

PRESCRIBED DRUG ABUSE: 16 million Americans annually over the age of 12 abuse prescriptions (NCDAS). In 2011, due to the dramatic increase in abuse of prescription drugs, the United Nations has declared prescribed drug abuse a global public health issue. It is estimated that 1% of the western world population misuse prescription drugs, (UNODC, 2011) according to my calculations that is around 70,000,000 – 78 million people.

INTIMATE TERRORISM/DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Globally, it is estimated that 736,000,000, 736 million people globally are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate family member (UN, 2022). And did you know across populations of all cultures and religions the home is a more dangerous place than the worst crime streets in America (Barnett, O.W., et al., 2010)? For more on this see What we don’t know about Domestic Violence and Covid 19 and Family – War in Homes.

And the list goes on, I have not mentioned, elder or parental abuse, bullying, cheating, anger issues, road rage, isolation and loneliness, nor the nearly 300 mental disorders listed in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). This is a handbook used by health professionals to help identify and diagnose mental illness. More research on these to come soon.

Imagine the world as a school of 8 billion people and in that school at least 107,000,000 came out addicted to alcohol, another 246 million people addicted to drugs, another 280,000,000, that is 280 million depressed, another 24,000,000, 24 million with Schizophrenia, another 468,000,000 with post-traumatic stress, another 736,000,000 who have raped or bashed, and you get the picture,… would you not question what the heck is going on and would you not fire all the staff????

WE can no longer avoid the reality that we are dramatically missing the mark. These are very real and disturbing mental ill health numbers. Rates are increasing at a monumental rate; they are NOT decreasing! This can surely only leave us to question, ‘What are we missing here?’

The search for truth – the meaning and purpose for living

One of the greatest performers of all time, Elvis Presley, still celebrated 45 years after his death has been quoted to state “There’s got to be a reason, a purpose… why I was plucked out of all the millions of lives to be Elvis. There are no coincidences there has got to be a reason. I grew up religious, I just didn’t care for the fear they would instil in people. But I always felt there was a god. My mom taught me that. And there’s a reason for everything that happens in life.” (Elvis & The Memphis Mafia). It has also been widely reported that Elvis was intensely dissatisfied with his career, once stating about his movies, “…[they]have no substance, they don’t mean anything, what are they doing for this world? How are they helping people? How can I be a part of something like that now? I am done.” (The Elvis Mob documentary).

We could argue that of all people, Elvis had the right to live a successful, healthy, and abundant life, but he did not. His search for greater purpose and meaning without finding the answers left him withdrawn, depressed and unfulfilled, ultimately leading him to make ill health choices that lead to his untimely death.

We accept that someone who has had a difficult upbringing may turn to drugs, alcohol, make poor choices etc, but often do not question why those who seemingly have had good/great lives, successful, come from loving families, also make similar destructive and anti-evolutionary choices.

Lack of meaning and purposeless has been recognised as a modern-day malaise that, if left unresolved, leads to mental and physical decline (Reker, G.T. et al., 1987).

In academia and as far back as the ancient philosophers are documented, finding meaning and purpose to life is considered key to living a successful, vital, and joy-full life. In our current era, there is confusion around what is considered meaningful and purposeful. The Dalai Lama talks about a universal responsibility, with a focus on all of humanity and not on just one’s own individualistic needs. He has been quoted as saying “a lack of a holistic, comprehensive perspective,” and the “lack of a sense of global responsibility”, creates a divide of ‘us’ and ‘them’ and “makes us selfish to the point that we put our interests as more important than another’s”. He goes on to say, this becomes a problem, as “In reality our interests and others’ interests are very much interconnected; we are part of the six billion human beings. Therefore, if six billion human beings are happy, one individual is bound to be happy. If six billion get trouble, you cannot escape. Universal responsibility in the modern world” (2008).

The Dalai Lama is not alone towards this way of thinking. Many philosophers and psychologists including Maslow, considered the father of humanistic psychology, have spoken about an individual’s transcendence needs. Meaning that they are motivated by values which transcend beyond the personal self, referencing those with a higher purpose, a commitment to others and not just themselves (McLeod, S. 2007).

The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community (WHO., CG Foundation, 2014).

Another psychologist, Alfred Adler understood that the main criteria for a human beings mental health, was based on feeling connectedness with other beings and a willingness to develop oneself fully, aka, realize his or her full potential, and contribute to the welfare of others, aka, make a contribution to her or his community. He stated that when these qualities are underdeveloped, states of unconscious inferiority or superiority may develop causing conflict and unsettlement, including becoming self-centred and emotionally or materially exploitive of other people. Whereas, when the feeling of connectedness and the willingness to contribute are stronger, a feeling of equality emerges, and the individual's goal will be self-transcending and beneficial to others (Carlson, J., 2017).

This could account for the significant amount of unrest and conflict in our world. Whether it be between two or more countries, between family members, friends, colleagues or within a relationship, wherever you look there is unrest and conflict.

During Donald Trump’s reign as President of the United States (please take out any political viewpoints) something that stood out for me, and I have never forgotten, was during one of his Presidential addresses, he ended the address by saying “May God Bless the World”. He did not end with the usual, “May God Bless America”.

I remember feeling surprised and had the thought, “did he just say that”? Later when I re-watched the address, I noticed those making comment where equally stopped. One person as surprised as I had been, wrote, “Did he just say… May God Bless the World”, and another saying, “I have never heard that before”.

This should be our normal – that is, considering the All for the All and not our current separative way of being that keeps us in the stalemate of not being able to see the bigger picture, how everything effects everything and how the wellbeing of the sum of the parts equals the wellbeing of the whole. If we continue to live the separative way we are where will we end up? Can it really get worse? All the evidence points to a definitive Yes.

Currently our legal, political, education and health systems, to name only a few, are being exposed for the levels of corruption they harbour. More and more we are seeing that these systems aim towards the goals and security of a few and not for the whole.

How is it that corruption, within these systems exist – if it was not for the insular belief that we can look after our own and not even consider the All. My family, not yours – at the expense of all others 😳

I say we are all living on this planet so that makes us one big family.

I have no doubt that if we were told the world was going to end tomorrow, the world would band together to address the impending threat. This is common, time after time we see families, communities, countries come together during times of crisis, differences put aside to deal with the immediate threat or crisis. It shows we are capable of putting our differences aside when there is a united purpose.

So that begs the question?

What stops us from truly connecting with each other and the deeper aspects of ourselves to restore a common sense of purpose and meaning in life?

Current research tells us that meaning and purpose can be associated with many things, including such things as; achieving biological perfection, having a job to go to, having a hobby to focus on, volunteering towards a good cause, having goals to work towards, like saving for a boat or getting the promotion you want.

And although there is nothing wrong with these, whilst they have a focus towards self and or some others, and not the whole, we could say we are missing the mark.

What if for a start we could all agree towards at least one common goal? And please do not say world peace – where has that got us … down to a cliched tag line in a beauty competition 🤫

What if that goal was to show everyone, no matter who they are common decency and respect – would that not be a start?

Going back to the World Health’s Organisations definition of well-being…. what if our realized potential, is to know the love in our heart could and would never harm another, and what if make(ing) a contribution to her or his community was to express lovingly to all no matter, race, gender, creed, religion, belief, or no matter how bad your day had been.

It only takes one to start a revolution, and to paraphase the Dalai Lama if you think one is too tiny to make a difference in the world, try sleeping with a mosquito in your room!


Barnett, O. W., Miller-Perrin, C. L., & Perrin, R. D. D. (2010). Family Violence Across the Lifespan: An Introduction. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Carlson, J. & Carlson, M. E., (2017). Adlerian Psychotherapy. American Psychological Association.

Chatterjee. D., Rai, R. (2021, November 03). Choosing Death over Survival: A need to identify Evolutionary Mechanisms Underlying Human Suicide. Front. Psychology. Sec Evolutionary Psychology. Retrieved from

Chen, L. Problematic Pornography Use in China. Curr Addict Rep 9, 80–85 (2022).

Dalai Lama. (2008, May 22). Universal Responsibility in the Modern World. Transcript of His Holiness’s Public Talk at Royal Albert Hall, United Kingdom.

Healthline. (2022). 6 Common Types of Eating Disorders. Retrieved from

Healthline. (2022). What does it mean to have a technology or video game addiction? Retrieved from

Jongsman, H. E, Turner, C, Kirkbride, J.B, Jones, P.B. (2019, May). International incidence of psychotic disordes, 2002-17: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Vol. 4. Issue 5. E229-E244. Retrieved from

Klein, C.A. (2012). The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. Intentional Ingestion and Insertion of Foreign Objects: A Forensic Perspective. Retrieved from

McLeod, S. (2007, April 04). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from

MedCircle. (2020, July 28). Porn Addiction: The Side Effects. Retrieved from

MedicalNewToday. (2020, January 28). What to know about porn addiction. Retrieved from

MedicineNet. (2022). Retrieved from

National Eating Disorder Association. (2022). Statistics and Research on Eating Disorders. Retrieved from

(NCDAS). Prescription Drug Abuse Statistics. Retrieved 2022, July from

NIH. National Institute of Mental Health. (2022, May 2). Borderline Personality Disorder. Retrieved from

NIH. National Institute of Mental Health. Bipolar Disorder. Retrieved (2022, August) from

Our World in Data. (2022 January, revised). Alcohol Consumption. Retrived from

Reker, G.T., Peacock, E.J., Wong. T.P. (1987). Meaning and Purpose in Life and Well-being: A Life-Span Perspective. Journal of Gerontology. Vol. 42. No. 1, 44-49

Sareen, Jitender. (2022, July). Posttraumatic stress disorder in adults: Epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, course, assessment, and diagnosis. Retrieved from

Sasson, Y. Zohar, J. Chopra, M. Lustig, M. Iancu, I. Hendler, T. (2022). Epidemiology of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A World View. Psychiatrist. Com. Retrieved from

SAVE. Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. (2022). Suicide Statistics. Retrieved from

Simpson, M.A. Anstee, B.H. (1974, May) Female genital self-mutilation as a cause of vaginal bleeding. Retrieved from

SingleCare. (2022, February 15). Bipolar disorder statistics 2022. Retrieved from

SingleCare. (2022, February 15). OCD statistics 2022. Retrieved from

Sleep Foundation. (2022, May 13). Sleep Statistics. Retrieved from

Stevens MW, Dorstyn D, Delfabbro PH, King DL. Global prevalence of gaming disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2021 Jun;55(6):553-568. doi: 10.1177/0004867420962851. Epub 2020 Oct 7. PMID: 33028074.

The Elvis Mob Documentary. Retrieved from

The Escapist. (2010, December 31). South Korean Teen Dies after Twelve Hour Gaming Binge. Retrieved from

The Lancet. (2022, February 01). Estimation of the global prevalence of dementia in 2019 and forecasted prevalence in 2050: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Vol 7., Issue 2, E105-E125. Retrieved from

The Recovery Village. (2022). Self-Harm Statistics and Facts. Retrieved from

The Recovery Village. (2022, May 02). Gambling Addiction Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from

Tracy, N. 10 (2022). Ways people self-harm, Self-injury. Retrieved from

United Nations. (2015). Office on Drugs and Crime. Retrieved from

UN. United Nations. (2022, February). Facts and Figures: Ending violence against woman. Retrieved from

UN. United Nations. (2022). Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Retrieved from

UNODC, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2011). The non-medical use of prescription drugs. Policy direction Issues.

Unruh, B. T., Nejad, S. H., Stern, T. W., & Stern, T. A. (2012). Insertion of foreign bodies (polyembolokoilamania): underpinnings and management strategies. The primary care companion for CNS disorders, 14(1), PCC.11f01192.

Walsh. R. (2011, October). Lifestyle and Mental Health. American Psychologist. American Psychological Association. Vol.66, No. 7, 579-592

WHO. World Health Organization. Social Isolation and Loneliness. Retrieved from

WHO. World Health Organization. Executive Board. (2011, December 1). Global Burden of Mental disorders and the need for a comprehensive, coordinated response from health and social sectors at the country level. 130th Session. Provisional agenda item 6.2.

WHO. World Health Organisation and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (2014). Social determinants of mental health. WHO document Production Services, Switzerland.

WHO. World Health Organisation. (2021, June 17). Suicide. Retrieved from

WHO. World Health Organisation. (2021 June, 9). Obesity and overweight. Retrieved from

WHO. World Health Organisation. (2021, June 17). Suicide. Retrieved from

WHO. World Health Organisation. (2021 September, 2). Dementia. Retrieved from

WHO. World Health Organisation. (2022, January 10). Schizophrenia. Retrieved from

Xiuqin, H., Du Shijun,. Sanju, G. (2014, November). Gambling addiction in China: a survey of Chinese Psychiatrists. Int Psychiatry. 11(4): 98-99. Retrieved from

86 views0 comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page