Farmhand shares quirky videos and mental health message
Farmhand shares quirky videos and spreads mental health message
DEON Richardson is that guy you would never expect to have a mental health issue.
When he was a child he was always making people laugh and is the kind of fella who tells his stories “a little more eccentrically”.
His personal Facebook page has a wealth of humour.
Boredom during long shifts working as a broad-acre farmhand prompted him to share his “tractor thoughts” in short, quirky videos.
With a straight face he will talk through the likes of self-baling hay, trouser snakes and how his tractor, even on cold mornings, feels like a “solarium on wheels”.
You can’t help but have a giggle at his antics.
To him, the act of making others laugh is a method for keeping his own mental health in check.
“If I can make just one person laugh a day, then that’s a pretty good feeling to have inside,” he said.
One of Mr Richardson’s videos recently reached more than 300,000 people, so this week the Rural Weekly caught up with him to learn more about the man behind the musings.
The 35-year-old farmhand works full-time for the McMahon brothers, on a mixed enterprise property about 70km outside of Pinnaroo in South Australia.
He describes his job as a challenge, especially during peak times when 14-hour days become the norm, but extremely rewarding – he likes being outside and seeing a season’s hard work come to an end at harvest.
Four years ago, however, Mr Richardson found himself in the midst of a mental-health crisis.
“I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression,” he said.
“So I spent some time in a mental health facility, I was there for about two or three weeks.”
He described his diagnosis as a shock – he never thought he would be the type of bloke who would be dealing with depression.
“I wasn’t really that self-aware to know it was something I suffered,” Mr Richardson said.
“Obviously, with the type of personality I have, people didn’t see it coming for someone like me.
“It felt like a strange diagnosis for me to get.”
In the process of getting better, Mr Richardson was taught methods to help him cope with his depression.
“Since then, I have found making these silly little videos helps me,” he said.
He talks openly about his mental health and is passionate about sharing his story.
“I am incredibly proud of the journey I have made and, really, my personality hasn’t changed much,” he said.
“Before I was diagnosed with a mental health issue to now, all that has changed is my ability to communicate. I can communicate what I am going through much better.
“It has made me passionate about wanting to talk about it.
“Obviously mental health is a huge issue in Australia but especially in rural areas where farming life can be a fairly loveless and lonely job at times.”
During long stints behind the wheel of a tractor or harvester, Mr Richardson listens to music and podcasts – but he says random thoughts pop into his mind.
Like, for instance, the self-rolling hay bales.
“Well, I have been baling
FUNNY FARMHAND: Deon Richardson is growing a following on social media by posting humorous videos.