Warragul South dairy farmer, Joe Meggetto found himself with mental health challenges after bottling up the stress of his work for years.
After contemplating suicide, the Gippsland father of three finally confided in his loved ones and sought help from his GP to address his depression.
While he still has his dark days, Joe is now a passionate believer in early intervention and encouraging others to seek help with mental health problems.If you or someone you know needs support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636. In an emergency, call 000.
IMAGES: A beautiful farm surrounded by green rolling hills is shown. There are tall gum trees swaying in the breeze and a crow calls. A small black and orange vehicle , being driven by a man, Joe Megetto comes through a fence. There is a small boy in the passenger seat next to him with dark hair.
“My biggest concern was what people thought.”
IMAGES: Joe walks up to a fence with a hammer and starts tapping on it. Joe is wearing boots, thick dark jeans and a navy t-shirt.
“Um, you grow up with all your mates…”
IMAGES: Joe is shown sitting down on a chair talking to the camera. The green rolling hills of his dairy farm are behind him.
“…and you grow up with your family and you think well, you know what are they going to think? They’re going to think well I’m weak. You know you’re weak.”
IMAGES: Joe carries a pail of milk to a shed where new calves are standing. He feeds the cows with the fresh milk in a green plastic bottle. Cows are shown wandering in the paddocks.
“I thought negative thoughts a lot. There was a couple of times there I, I wanted to end my life.
“My name Is Joe Megetto. I’m a dairy farmer at Warragul South. I milk 250 cows and I’ve been doing that for about 28 years. I’ve had some challenges the last few years in regards to mental health.
IMAGES: Joe is shown driving a huge red tractor and leaning on a fence post with his young son.
“It’s been a tough couple of years with the dairy industry that we are in ….the prices, the weather and those type of things. They are all, they are all challenges that all add up.
“The bad thoughts, the dark holes I was thinking about, I was always thinking no-one deserves to find me, if I do take my own life.”
INAGES: Joe is shown standing in a darkened milking shed, rubbing his face.
“In the early days, I was really touching base with a lot of my friends. They didn’t know what I was going through but I was always texting them saying; “how you going?” and “what are you up to?” because I wanted to probably open up about it, but I wasn’t getting there. I wasn’t getting there to open up about it.”
IMAGES: Joe is shown in his kitchen with his wife Michelle and his son, drinking a cup of tea. As his wife talks to his son, Joe rubs his head and looks away from the family.
“And the turning point for me was… my wife’s family is very close and every year we go away and they were all having a great time and I’m thinking they are all really happy and cheery and I’m just you know, down in the dumps and thinking negative about myself.
“I ended up going to bed and then when my wife Michelle was coming to bed I just broke down in tears, I just broke down in tears and that’s when I sort of started to umm think, you know, well this might be the right time to really go and source some help.”
IMAGES: Joe opens a gate and walks through it. He is shown walking through a field, and watching the cows with his son.
“Managing it to a day-to-day basis since I’ve been to see my GP, I’m on medication and um before I opened up about it, it was all bottling up inside and I think once you open up about it, it’s just a total weight off your shoulders.
“I think the more, the more talking of it the more um things we can do as a community that can help people in the mental health side of things well that can slowly break the stigma.”
IMAGES: Joe looks at the camera and off in the distance at his cows. He is then shown sitting down in the chair talking to camera.
“If you are really struggling with it, seek help and take that first step. We’ve gotta be prepared to open up about it. It took me two or three years to take that first step, but at the end of the day you’re number one.
“I still get bad days don’t get me wrong. I’ve been fortunate enough and strong enough to open up about it and it’s made my life a lot easier so there’s help out there.
“There’re all these different organisations that are really willing to help. And don’t be scared to talk to your mates about it… and ring me! I don’t care, ring me! I’ll talk to ya (laugh)”
IMAGES: The screen fades to white. Writing appears which says ‘It’s Time to Talk about Mental Health’. The next screen says for support contact on or ; The final screen says To find out more search