The rise of eSports: are addiction and corruption the price of its success?

Forget football, the world’s fastest-growing sport is live video gaming. But increasingly its impact is proving harmful to those involved

If you had been away from the planet for the past quarter of a century, one of the few things you might find comfortingly familiar on your return is the world of sport. While the digital revolution has transformed the way we shop, chat, date, do politics and consume culture, sport looks largely unchanged. From football to cricket to golf, it’s still the same old staples, hitting a ball into a hole or goal or over a boundary. There hasn’t been a major new sport invented for more than a century. Or has there?

In the East End of London, Sam Mathews is holding court at Fnatic’s HQ, otherwise known as the Bunkr. A pop-up shop that opened last December, it is marketed as the “world’s first eSports concept store” and is as knowingly hip as its Shoreditch surroundings. Here at the Bunkr, you can buy eSports equipment, meet players, view streamed events and even watch matches live.

Related: Hashtag United, Wimbly Womblys and the virtual gamers striking it rich

Related: Sport 2.0: crumbling traditions create a whole new ballgame | Sean Ingle

Related: Sebastian Coe: ‘Athletics needs to be innovative, braver and more creative’

Related: Golf fights old perceptions and drop in players to attract new audience | Ewan Murray

I ask if he will give me the most powerful shock he gives patients. The impact is violent. I still feel it hours later

Continue reading…

How to take a guilt-free holiday as a freelancer

Working for yourself means taking time off is not as simple as turning an out-of-office response on

I know the exact moment on my recent holiday where I finally relaxed after months of overdoing it. Towards the end of a trip to the US, my friend and I spent an afternoon of trashy pleasure on the Warner Bros studio tour in Los Angeles.

After winding through film sets, our tour cart stopped outside a building that housed props from the Harry Potter movies. I’m not a Potter addict, but I found myself staring into a glass case filled with magic wands. Without realising, I gasped in a moment of unthinking awe. After months of staring at a computer screen, my brain had finally unclenched.

Taking time away means turning down opportunities. Unless you’re being offered a career-defining gig, try to say no

Related: Wanderlust: five ways to keep your job while travelling the world

Continue reading…

Women abused by partners suffer lifelong health problems – study

First long-term Australian study to investigate impacts of intimate partner violence finds those who have survived abuse ‘recorded significantly poorer health’

Women who are abused by their partner suffer significant physical and mental health problems that persist throughout their lifetime, the first long-term Australian study to investigate the health impacts of intimate partner violence has found.

The research, led by the University of Newcastle’s research centre for generational health and ageing, followed 16,761 participants from the Women’s Health Australia study for 16 years from 1996.

Related: Domestic violence: five women tell their stories of leaving – the most dangerous time

Related: When I first wrote about domestic violence, no one talked about it. Now the shame has lifted

Continue reading…

Queen’s speech: what the Tories’ overhauled priorities may look like

Party’s manifesto plans will change in wake of election, with possible shifts in stance on Brexit, grammar schools and social care

The first Queen’s speech of the new parliament will be nothing like as ambitious as Theresa May had hoped, given the Conservative party’s lack of an overall majority and the need to rely on the Democratic Unionist party of Northern Ireland to pass legislation. Only a handful of key policies are likely to survive:

Related: Tom Watson asks May: did Murdoch request Gove’s return to cabinet?

Related: Q&A: how will the UK election result affect Brexit talks?

Related: Can party politics be set aside to save social care? | Paul Burstow

Continue reading…

The article that change my view … of how to cope with anxiety

Mental health nurse Andy Walton explains how a Guardian series transformed his personal and professional life

Andy Walton was flicking through the Guardian one January morning in 2011, when he came across the first article in a series called Start Happy. “It promised to help readers eat well, sleep well, exercise and find inner calm,” he recalls. “As someone who had struggled with anxiety for quite some time, it immediately caught my eye.”

Six years later, Walton is still enjoying the benefits of the series, which he credits with transforming both his professional and personal life. “It took a very positive and progressive look at mental health. On top of that, it covered lots of different themes in an engaging way, and it was the first time I really felt understood,” he explains.

Continue reading…

Crisps, keyboards, pens​ – how do you treat an unusual phobia?

When you are plagued by unusual fears, people’s reactions can be the hardest thing to bear. One writer with a phobia of jewellery explores what can be done

If a friend confided in you they had a fear of door handles or toenail clippings, would you laugh or sympathise? The instinctive reaction might be the former, but we can all get phobias of absolutely anything, and some can be debilitating. I have lived with my own fear of jewellery for as long as I can remember. If you were to place a metallic necklace or earring into my hands, it would send a shiver through my body, I’d feel instantly sick, have to throw the object away and wash my hands. The response from family, friends and colleagues has only ever been amusement or bemusement. I can live a normal life, despite consternation from some for not wearing a wedding ring, and have never got to the root cause.

Phobias are described as an overwhelming and debilitating fear of something. They are more pronounced than just fears alone. A dislike of rats, for example, is pretty common. But if it extends to musophobia (a fear of mice or rats), then it can be life-changing. “One person called our helpline who was so scared of rats they couldn’t even say the word ‘rat’ itself,” explains Trilby Breckman, a development manager at the charity organisation Triumph Over Phobia (TOP UK). “It was stopping her going out for fear of seeing one.”

Continue reading…

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.

Continue reading…

Women can still have it all. Can’t they? | Victoria Coren Mitchell

Over tea and muffins, I was almost convinced of the case for tighter apron strings. Oh, crumbs!

Last week was a significant one for me because I nearly changed my mind about something. And who ever does that? I didn’t change my mind (nobody ever does, about anything) but I did have – I think – a small insight. I won’t say “epiphany”. Not least because I find it hard to pronounce. But I will say insight.

It came about over a cup of tea with a friend, whom I won’t name for fear that people will find her on Twitter and shout at her. Let’s just call her @elspeth157. I’m joking. We’ll call her Janet.

Continue reading…

Letter to my younger self: you’ll cry with pride

Stuart Macdonald, founder of ManíLife peanut butter, got through a bout of depression to fulfil a dream

Dear Stu,

I’m writing to you from one of the many cafes that will become your office 10 years from now. That bubbling discomfort you’re feeling at 15 still persists.

Related: Letter to my younger self: you never want to become the bully

It’s time to stop pretending to be an accountant. You make a rubbish accountant.

Continue reading…

‘I can’t fight anorexia any more. I’ve tried so hard’

Pip McManus died three years after becoming ill with an eating disorder. Her parents explain how medical care failed their daughter

Marie McManus wants to show me the final photograph taken of her daughter Pip. It was 9 December 2015, and the 15-year-old is standing on the platform of a railway station five minutes’ walk from the family home. In the CCTV image, Pip is wearing a red hoodie and looking up the track to see if her train is coming. But she’s not going to get on it.

Related: Mother of anorexic girl killed by train criticises care failings after inquest

I thought, they’ll put a drip in, they’ll give her fluids. They’ll make her better

Related: Mental health services turn away 23% of under-18s referred to them

Related: Anorexia: you don’t just grow out of it | Carrie Arnold

Continue reading…

How to be resilient: ‘self-awareness is fundamental’

Practise mindfulness, join support groups and take time away from technology were some of the tips from the experts in our live chat

Entrepreneurs must be able to bounce back from disappointment. It’s a career choice rife with rejection: failure to secure a bank loan, missing out on investment and poor sales are just some of the potential hurdles you can face.

But, for many, resilience is a learning process. So how can you develop this trait? In our live Q&A on how to build resilience, our expert panel discussed strategies for managing stress, building a support network and improving work-life balance.

Related: Ask the experts: how to build your resilience – as it happened

Related: Reeling from a failure? Perhaps an attitude change could help

Continue reading…

Judge ‘lost the will to live’ after dementia diagnosis, inquest hears

A letter found after Sir Nicholas Wall, 71, killed himself at care home stated he had ‘no hope for the future’, says police officer

A former leading family judge killed himself at a care home after he “lost the will to live” following his dementia diagnosis, an inquest has heard.

Sir Nicholas Wall, who became president of the family division in 2010 and retired on health grounds in December 2012, was found hanged in his room at Emily Jackson House care home in Sevenoaks, Kent on 17 February.

Related: NHS faces staggering increase in cost of elderly care, academics warn

Related: ‘Dementia tax’ and social care funding: the Conservative plans explained

Continue reading…

Fund social care through tax – anything else punishes those who need it | Jane Young

The Tories betray wilful ignorance in refusing to acknowledge that some adults need support all their lives – asking them to pay care costs is wrong

Much has been said about the Conservative manifesto pledges on social care and Theresa May’s subsequent U-turn, but one issue that has so far escaped scrutiny is the Tories’ strange assumption that social care is all about older people. This is despite the fact that around a third of those who need social care services are of working age [pdf].

Social care affects all adults who need support because of a disability or long-term health condition. This might include a learning disability, a physical disability or severe and enduring mental ill-health. The failure of the Conservative manifesto to acknowledge any of this gives the impression of a party that is wilfully ignorant of the nature of adult social care and its beneficiaries.

Related: The ‘dementia tax’ mess shows how little May thinks of disabled people | Frances Ryan

Related: Forget money – we need to rethink what social care should look like

Continue reading…

The Tories would oversee the rundown of A&E and maternity units | Denis Campbell

Guardian experts give their view on the main parties’ public service manifesto pledges. Here, our health editor looks at what’s in store for the NHS

David Brindle on social care
Patrick Butler on social security
Dawn Foster on housing
Frances Ryan on disability
Anna Bawden on local government
Alan Travis on home affairs
Jane Dudman on the civil service
Damian Carrington on the environment
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The NHS in England would receive “the resources it needs – a minimum of £8bn in real terms over the next five years, delivering an increase in real funding per head of the population for every year of the parliament”. A further £10bn is pledged in capital spending. It would ensure that the NHS and social care system had all the health professionals “it needs” and it would train more homegrown medics. Backing the NHS’s Five Year Forward View and local sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) would lead to the controversial rundown of A&E and maternity units and changes to the roles of many hospitals. Any “necessary legislative changes” would be made to finally give STPs legal status. In addition, it would “review the operation of the internal market and make non-legislative changes to remove barriers to the integration of care”. GPs would provide seven-day access everywhere by 2019.

Continue reading…

Model Adwoa Aboah: ‘In 2017, there is more than one way to be beautiful ​and cool’

The in-demand face of Gap and Versace is changing the rules of how to make it big in fashion. She talks about authenticity, her depression – and why her shaved head was a two fingers to the industry

Adwoa Aboah is ridiculously beautiful, but that is not what makes her the most in-demand model of the moment. Sure, the razor-sharp cheekbones and the blown-glass lips don’t do her prospects any harm. But there is something in her gaze to camera that makes her beauty seem as if it’s not the most compelling thing about her. It is this that has raised Aboah – face of a new Gap campaign, muse to Donatella Versace, booked for the catwalk by everyone from Christian Dior and Chanel to Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang – above the modelling rank and file.

My first appointment with Aboah is cancelled because she hasn’t yet got out of bed. So far, so supermodel. But when we finally speak, it becomes clear that this Linda Evangelista moment is about as far as Aboah goes in terms of conformity to the modelling tradition of aloof, enigmatic beauty. After our interview, she has a busy day ahead. First, a meeting with Dr Lauren Hazzouri, a psychologist specialising in young women’s mental health. After that, it’s off to Gurls Talk, the online platform she founded to enable discussion about mental health, body image and sexuality, to plan an upcoming event. Forget castings and go-sees: Aboah is changing the rules of how a modern model makes it big.

Continue reading…