AddThis SmartLayers

City news site produces documentary on male suicide

Untold StoriesA city news website is running a series of documentary films aimed at taking a more in-depth examination of issues affecting its patch – including male suicide.

Leeds Live’s Untold Stories series has seen one of its journalists produces videos between eight and 10 minutes in length for the site as a new way to tell stories.

So far two documentaries have been uploaded to the site – ‘Selling Sex on the Streets of Leeds’, focusing on city’s the so-called legalised ‘red light district’ in Holbeck, and ‘Darkest hours: Leeds Speaks Out About Male Suicide’, which premiered last week and looks at the issue of men taking their own lives.

Both films so far have been produced by reporter Kristian Johnson, and more are set to follow later in 2019.

Discussing the impact of his latest film, Kristian told HTFP: “Awareness around suicide is getting better, but when you consider that more than 5,000 people took their own lives in 2017 it really makes you take a step back and realise just how big the problem is.

“Three quarters of these deaths were among men – and Leeds is at the very forefront of trying to tackle such a sensitive issue.

“Darkest hours: Leeds Speaks Out About Male Suicide was an opportunity to hear from men in Leeds who felt as though they had nowhere to turn and the impact suicide can have on loved ones left behind.

“The family of James Wood were incredibly brave in sharing their story after losing their 23-year-old son in 2018. As tough as it is to watch, the documentary shines a light on the importance of building support networks for people who are struggling.

“It also highlights the fantastic ongoing work in Leeds to help those in need, from £70,000 of recurrent funding to Andy’s Man Club, which supports hundreds of people across West Yorkshire every year.

“It’s often said that speaking out about mental health issues is the most important step. It’s also the toughest, but we hope this latest documentary can help by alerting people to all the brilliant projects and groups out there in Leeds.”

Leeds Live publisher Matt Millington told HTFP the series had enabled the site to deliver local online journalism in its “most thorough and visual form”.

He said: “Since the site’s launch in late 2017, Leeds Live has looked to adopt the best digital storytelling techniques already in practice across the Reach network, to cover the biggest stories and talking points in Leeds, and then push those boundaries even further to engage as many people as possible.

“Experience in the team has allowed us to adopt the fundamentals of broadcast to deliver good quality video but tailored solely to an online audience.

“These longer form documentary style edits are premiered on Facebook first, to our growing and very engaged loyal Facebook audience. Why? Because right now this is the quickest way to get the message out there. To reach as many people as possible.”