The Gippsland Jersey 2023 Mental Health Calendar Launch
by Gippsland Jersey
Many of you know I tragically lost my Dad to suicide in 2016, and that traumatic event and the unfolding dairy crisis, were the two catalysts that brought about Gippsland Jersey. Our annual mental health calendar is an integral part of our mental health brand pillar since it began in 2018. It is delivered free to dairy farmers all over Victoria every year, with the intention of starting a conversation around mental health, in which the daily 'office' can be a very isolating environment. We hope the calendar finds its way to the wall in the dairy, or maybe in the family kitchen, and serves as a reminder for any farmer in a tough moment, that there is always someone who has walked the same path and come out the other side, and that's it ok to ask for help.
Last week we launched the 2023 'Farming Conversations' calendar that tells 12 Gippsland dairy farmers’ stories, on my family farm (and our production factory) in East Gippsland. Many of the stories in the calendar talk about how the most simplistic act of someone showing up for them when things are hard was the best medicine. There is once again a diverse group of farmers from many different backgrounds - some are battling major health issues, some were born into the family farm, others come from the big smoke and fell in love with life on the land.
The Weekly Times wrote on article this week on calendar participant, Marlo dairy farmer Chris Kane who now sees a bright future milking cows in East Gippsland, however not long ago the father of two had a much darker outlook on life. Chris, 36, this year moved his family back to the coastal region where he grew up, after spending five years managing a corporate dairy operation at Labertouche. At the age of 28, he was diagnosed with depression and milking cows was his sole reason to get up in the morning.
“I’ve had times in my life when it’s been very dark,” Chris said. “I went and saw professionals and they basically said to me if you can get out of bed, milk the cows, feed the calves, then go back to bed, you’ve done well for the day, and it’s a tick."
Joe Meggetto, a dairy farmer from Warragul South, opened the calendar launch by sharing his lived experience of battling mental health, see his talk here on our socials. Joe shares his story not only to save his own life but also others. Joe has chosen to be public and very honest about his health journey from 2018 when we printed out first calendar. If Joe Meggetto wasn’t a dairy farmer — I reckon he would commit himself to seeing reform in the mental health and wellbeing sector. What I love about Joe is that he makes himself available to anyone that needs help or support, even when he's struggling himself. Because of Joe’s advocacy work in mental health and wellbeing, he is being painted for the prestigious Archibald portrait competition in 2023. His portrait deserves to win, I believe!
Our 2023 Mental Health Calendar is FREE and available now
If you've made it this far, thanks SO much for supporting Gippsland Jersey, we couldn't do what we do without you all supporting the work we do!