Ant McPartlin speaks out about his depression and addiction

Presenter has reportedly entered rehab for treatment for anxiety and prescription drug and alcohol abuse

Ant McPartlin has said he feels he has let people down as he reportedly enters rehab following a battle with depression, alcohol and substance abuse.

The TV presenter, one half of the duo Ant and Dec, said he wanted to speak out about his issues in order to help others.

Very brave Ant to go public. This is the first stage of the road to recovery. All the best Ant it, will all be sorted for sure @antanddec

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Can you write your way to happiness?

A growing number of diarists are using expressive writing or ‘bullet journalling’ to improve their health and productivity. But does keeping a daily log actually work?

”This groundbreaking tool will change your life,” claims MindJournal, a £9.99 collection of quizzes and writing exercises that it claims will “encourage you to be more honest with how you’re feeling”. Aimed at a male audience, it has a testosterone-fuelled tagline: “Become a stronger version of the man you already are.”

It’s not unique; in bookshops, it has quickly evident that the humble notebook is having an overhaul. Prescriptive travel diaries (“Enjoy the lightly guided prompts for agendas, lists and observations”) bump up against journals claiming to focus on inner truth (“Featuring over 70 thought-provoking quotes from fellow self-improvers, this journal is great for both perfectionists and failures!”), while the latest fad for bullet journalling – a convoluted to-do list system – has swept the internet, inundating Instagram with a pages of artfully annotated checklists.

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‘It was quasi-religious’: the great self-esteem con

In the 1980s, Californian politician John Vasconcellos set up a task force to promote high self-esteem as the answer to all social ills. But was his science based on a lie?

In 2014, a heartwarming letter sent to year 6 pupils at Barrowford primary school in Lancashire went viral. Handed out with their Key Stage 2 exam results, it reassured them: “These tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique… They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day. They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister.”

At Barrowford, people learned, teachers were discouraged from issuing punishments, defining a child as “naughty” and raising their voices. The school’s guiding philosophy, said headteacher Rachel Tomlinson, was that kids were to be treated with “unconditional positive regard”.

To get ahead in the 1980s, you had to be ruthless, relentless. You had to believe in yourself

Vasco’s credibility turned on a single fact: that the professors had confirmed his hunch. The only problem? They hadn’t

What had really happened at that meeting? I found the answer on an old audio cassette, hissy and faint

Related: The appeal of narcissists: why do we love people who’d rather love themselves?

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Depression, opportunity and that life abroad – podcasts of the week

Rowan Slaney brings you three podcasts that chime with three significant events from her ‘teenageish’ years

• Don’t forget to subscribe for your weekly dose of podcast gold

Hear here is here. Hooray! Now, first things first. An incredible number of people have subscribed to this column. What a joy that there are so many of you who love the medium as much I do. If you’ve emailed in with your recommendations, I promise I’ll listen to them – I’ve made an excel spreadsheet and everything – but there have just been so many, it’s incredible.

Please keep them coming in, I want to listen to all the podcasts I can fit into my ears. If you haven’t subscribed yet, come and join us. It’s great fun.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a podcast about mental health would be, well, a bit of a downer. In fact, it could be the type of podcast that people who live with depression, and those around them, might want to avoid. But then you probably haven’t listened to John Moe.

John isn’t a therapist or a counsellor or a psychiatrist or any sort of mental health professional. He’s actually a writer and radio presenter, and a long-term sufferer of depression. He’s also quite a funny guy, and that’s what makes The Hilarious World of Depression special.

The BitterSweet Life is a great example of an immersive podcast experience and of excellent storytelling. My favourite episodes are those where Tiffany and Katy record outside in the plazas of Rome, or visit different churches to find Caravaggio paintings. The splash of water from the fountains, customers chattering in Italian in the bakery, the screaming swallows overhead. I feel transported to Rome, and with very itchy feet, every time I listen to these episodes.

Secondly, the story of Katy’s year was an ongoing narrative that I invested in so much that I had to hold back tears in the episode when Katy was due to leave. The podcast shifts a little in content and feel when Katy returns to Seattle, obviously due to the changed circumstances. However, I continue to listen as I enjoy the relationship between the two friends. The episodes where they record WhatsApp messages to each other in the aftermath of the election of Trump, I thought, was a stroke of storytelling genius.

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In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s – review

Joseph Jebelli’s personal study of a disease that has reached epidemic proportions offers the latest research – but not much hope

The human animal derives its humanity from language and memory. What are we, without memory ? The short answer is: wild beasts.

Memory gives us personality, emotional intelligence, family relations, and community. Memory anchors us in space and time. It defines the parameters of existence. Paradoxically, it might even confirm the futility of existence.

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Ruby Wax: ‘The kids didn’t know I had depression until they were older. My husband covered for me’

The comedian talks about her mother’s obsessive compulsive disorder, her own depression and marrying her husband for his family

I was born and raised in Evanston, outside Chicago. My dad, Edward Wachs, and my mum, Bertha, fled Austria in 1938. My family were Jewish but they never practised, so it’s not something I really identify with. My dad ran a catering company so we ate a lot of different kinds of hot dogs. We lived on a lake and if you saw it you’d think, “Oh my God, it’s so beautiful!” It was this American Pie happiness but something wasn’t right.

My mother had obsessive compulsive disorder, although I didn’t know it was called that then. Everything had to be incredibly clean and she went around with sponges in both hands, constantly wiping up. I had girlfriends whose mothers would fill their refrigerators full of food but ours only had mayonnaise and my dad’s cigars. My mother would often get hysterical and there was lots of screaming, but rather than deal with it, my father would just turn the opera up on the radio.

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12 Jours review – a devastating glimpse into broken souls

Raymond Depardon’s documentary follows a judge who must decide whether psychiatric hospital patients can be allowed back into society

A young woman stares across a table at the judge who is reviewing her case. Her gaze is both searingly intense and curiously blank. Holding herself preternaturally still, muscles tensed against the turmoil of emotions, she pleads to see the two-year-old daughter who has been removed from her care. “Not all the time, I accept that. But just to change her diaper, to love her.” If there’s a more achingly sad moment in any film of the 2017 Cannes film festival, it’s hard to imagine what it could be. For 12 Jours, veteran documentarian Raymond Depardon (Modern Life, Journal de France) turns his lens on to the desperate, broken souls of the patients who have been involuntarily committed into the care of a Lyon psychiatric institution.

Related: A Gentle Creature review – brutally realist drama offers up a pilgrimage of suffering

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Back, Sack & Crack (& Brain): a graphic memoir with balls

From his back to his stomach to his testicles, Robert Wells had been in pain for decades – but no one in the NHS believed him. So he turned it all into a hilarious graphic novel

Right now, life isn’t so bad for Robert Wells. “I get the odd uncomfortable day,” says the 48-year-old cartoonist. “But it’s not a major issue. You won’t catch me riding a bike, though.”

As recounted in his commendably – almost excruciatingly – honest new graphic novel, Wells has been experiencing chronic health problems since 1990, most notably a persistently upset stomach and a perennially aching right testicle. Which partly explains why his book is called Back, Sack & Crack (& Brain). If this sounds funny, he’s OK with that. “The main reason I wanted to do the book was because I could see quite a lot of opportunities for humour.”

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David Baddiel: Yes, I make fun of Dad’s dementia – and he’d be delighted if he knew why

It’s not ‘low’ to point out that when Theresa May says the same thing over and over again she sounds as if she has dementia. It’s a joke Dad would appreciate

A couple of days ago, having seen the prime minister say the phrase strong and stable about 75 times in the space of a five-minute interview, I tweeted this:

I must say Theresa May is very good at saying the same thing again and again #strongandstable. So is my dad. Who has dementia.

@Baddiel Low use of your dad there… Corbyn is wayyyyy more whacked out than your old fella.

A. Don’t tell me not to make jokes about my own father.
B. I make loads of jokes about Corbyn. Read my TL.
C. Fuck off.

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Labour would ban junk food adverts during TV popular with children

The measure would be part of a £250m-a-year scheme to make UK youngsters the healthiest in the world

Adverts for junk food and sweets will be banned from hit TV shows including The X Factor, Hollyoaks and Britain’s Got Talent under Labour plans to tackle childhood obesity.

Related: Junk food ads targeting children banned in non-broadcast media

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Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why prompts rise in charity counselling for children

NSPCC says some children who have received Childline counselling said series triggered memories of suicidal thoughts

A children’s charity is providing a growing number of counselling sessions for young people concerned about the content of the Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why.

The NSPCC said some children who had received counselling via its Childline service said the series had triggered memories of suicidal thoughts. Others were worried that the programme did not offer advice on how to help someone who was feeling suicidal.

Related: Netflix show condemned for ‘romanticising’ teenager’s suicide

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‘I was dehumanised’: Lemn Sissay on hearing his harrowing abuse report live on stage

In a blistering one-off show, poet Lemn Sissay heard – for the first time – the record of his suffering as a child in care. He explains why the theatre was the safest place to relive his beatings and betrayal

I have never been in a theatre audience like this one – so loving, supportive, involved. Then again, there has probably never been a production quite like this. It is the ultimate verbatim theatre. What’s more, part of the verbatim is happening live, unscripted, in front of us.

Lemn Sissay’s The Report, at the Royal Court in London, is just that: the reading of – and his reaction to – the psychologist’s report about the abuse he suffered over 18 years as a child in the care system. It is a one-off production. This is, by turns, theatre as shock treatment, theatre as therapy, theatre as protest and, perhaps ultimately, theatre as survival. We come away with a microscopically detailed portrait of the poet – and the system that did its best to destroy him.
Sissay, now 49, was born to an Ethiopian mother in Wigan. She was a young woman – a girl really – who had come to study in Britain and found herself pregnant. She was placed in a mother and baby unit and, at two months old, Sissay was put in care. His mother was asked to sign adoption papers and refused – she wanted her son back when she could manage better. Social services ignored her wishes, telling his long-term foster parents to treat this as adoption. Sissay was renamed Norman by his social worker, who happened to be called Norman.

Related: Lemn Sissay: ‘I would die if I didn’t live in the present’

At the end, everyone cheers. You sense they would rather just hug Sissay

Open all doors.
Open all senses.
Open all defences.
Ask, what were these closed for?

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Netflix show condemned for ‘romanticising’ teenager’s suicide

Royal College of Psychiatrists warns of potentially tragic consequences of 13 Reasons Why, which ‘graphically depicts’ young protagonist’s suicide

Mental health groups have criticised a new Netflix drama for its “sensationalised” portrayal of a 17-year-old’s suicide, which they say could encourage young people to take their own lives.

The Samaritans, psychiatrists, and mental health campaigners claim 13 Reasons Why could prompt troubled young people to copy the suicide of its central character, Hannah Baker.

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Virgin Money chief: ‘I have battled with mental health all my life’

Jayne-Anne Gadhia meant to tell just the Virgin Money story in her autobiography and not reveal her struggles with depression, but now proceeds of her book are going to the charity Heads Together

When Jayne-Anne Gadhia was once turned down for a promotion, her boss provided two reasons for his decision: she lacked a thick skin and the ability to bullshit. Twenty five years on – and after making it to the top of the banking sector to become chief executive of Virgin Money – Gadhia reckons she still doesn’t possess either of those characteristics.

Rather than growing a thick skin, Gadhia sticks her fingers in her ears to illustrate her own “la la la” approach to put-downs. And she insists her motto of “ebo” (wanting to make everyone better off) is not nonsense.

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The hidden layers of Benin’s mental health patients in pictures

Benin photographer Louis Oké Agbo creates montage portraits to underscore the humanity of his country’s most misunderstood and maligned people

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