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Self Seen supporting men in Port Macquarie

Founded in 2020, the relatively new mental health and healing group Self Seen offers Port Macquarie men a range of activities that help break down stereotypes about masculinity and get blokes back on track.

Ben Cudmore started Self Seen to challenge the stigma around mental health and provide a support network for both men and women by encouraging vulnerability in safe spaces. 

There are men’s circles, men’s meetups, and men’s training and retreat workshops (quarterly).

“We empower men to change the way they show up for themselves, which in turn allows them to step forward into empowerment and change their lives for the better,” states Self Seen on its website.

“Not only for themselves but for their families and the community.”

Run entirely by volunteers [A shout-out during Volunteers Week from May 20-26), Self Seen has attracted the attention of ABC news, which often tracks down positive men’s health stories, notably those that address high rates of male suicide.

Unique to Self Seen is its regular use of ice baths, talk sessions and other holistic practices at the NSW coastal town.

One participant, Jessie McGarrity, 39, says he found a safe harbour in Self Seen, a place where he could address childhood trauma stemming from losing his younger brother when he was 13. His brother’s sudden death from an aneurysm propelled 13-year-old Jessie into a path of destruction, marked by substance abuse and excessive partying as a young chef.

"There were too many chances to take drugs, to drink ... it all just funnelled to the same point of getting drunk and not sleeping for days," he told ABC Mid North Coast.

After a suicide attempt, then later a change of career when he was 31, Jessie eventually found Self Seen, formed by Ben Cudmore in response to his battles with drug addiction and mental health.

Ben’s idea was to help other blokes get back on track through holistic practices, such as ice baths, breathwork and other techniques that reduce anxiety.

"We're not professionals; we're just blokes who have gone through it," he said.

"That's the key of what we're trying to do, to normalise it."

"We celebrate a win for the week," he said.

"If someone is there struggling, we ask, 'What's going on mate?'"

Jessie has since given up all mind-altering substances, including, more recently, alcohol.

"Every day, I had to have a beer at the end of the day, and generally, it would get out of control — if I had one, I had two, then I had 10.

"Now I'm off the alcohol, and I don't plan on getting back on it." 

Ben Cudmore was recognised by the Port Macquarie Hastings Council as one of two Citizens of the Year in 2023 “for his commitment to breaking the stigma on mental health through Self Seen.”

He lives by the mantra, “Do Good, Feel Good,” and exhorts others to do the same.

Follow Self Seen on Facebook

Read: Port Macquarie men's group Self Seen uses breathwork, ice baths to improve mental health




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11 June 2024

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