YouTuber Calum McSwiggan has teamed up with award-winning Australian filmmaker Fraser Green to make a short, moving documentary about his struggle with depression.
After ending an abusive, six year relationship that began in his mid-teens, Calum left his small hometown in England and travelled for several years in an attempt to forge a new life for himself. Newly single, he felt at once free from pain but at a loss how to truly live on his own for the first time.
When he finally felt ready to return to England, he settled down in London. Free from the uncertainty of travel and adventure, Calum’s depression began to completely consume him. This documentary takes us on his journey of recovery.
The film is a reminder during Mental Health Awareness Week of how depression can affect the LGBT community, but the most important thing to Calum is seeing how people react and are helped by his videos.
“You might just make a silly video on the internet of just you messing around doing a challenge with friends or something,” he explains. “And then someone will write you an email, and say, ‘It’s so wonderful to see you just being yourself. That gave me the inspiration to come out to my parents,’ or, ‘That reassures me, I live in Russia, it’s extremely homophobic here, I’m scared for my own life. Seeing you being happy gives me hope.’ That’s why I continue to do it.”
You can watch the entire film right here:
Fraser Green said that he “didn’t hesitate for a second” when making a film about Calum’s life came up.
“I don’t think he did either when I pitched it to him. YouTube has become a powerful platform to tell stories about real people, in particular, LGBT+ stories,” Fraser added.
“McSwiggan is the most I’ve dedicated to a project. Of course, there was a lot more at stake having to travel overseas. But I always remained confident. Why? The story. The experiences and lessons explored from Calum’s hardships in the film are relatable on many levels by anyone, but in particular, for LGBT+ people.”
“It’s remarkable LGBT+ people have this access on the online realm.”
Words Ben Shields
If Gaz’s story affected you in any way, or if you’re suffering from depression, there is always someone available to talk things through and help you out.
mentalhealth.org.uk is a great place to start.