Sunday meet-ups to offer social support for Margaret River men

Self Seen Mr

Margaret River local Ryan Nilsson-Linne was inspired to launch Self Seen Margaret River after joining a similar group in Port Macquarie. Picture supplied.

Three Margaret River men have launched a new group aimed at providing a comfortable and relaxed social setting for fellow local men to engage and share honest conversations.

Inspired by a group established in New South Wales, where he resided from 2021 until 2023, fourth-generation Margaret River resident Ryan Nilsson-Linne decided to bring the idea to his hometown with the help of good mates, Peter Durey and Mathew Kent.

He said his regular attendance at Self Seen Port Macquarie walks showed him how powerful the group could be in the South West.

“In the four years they have operated, they have grown to a much bigger organisation, have won many awards, and are contributing massively to the community there, and I watched as they changed many many people’s lives.

“The positive impact they have had in the community is something to behold and we would love to replicate at least some of what they have done here in Margaret River.”

With the Margaret River chapter about to host their first gathering on January 21, Mr Nilsson-Linne said local men of all ages and walks of life were encouraged to attend for a casual walk and a barbecue catch up.

“Our group motto of ‘No One Walks Alone’ speaks of much more than just a morning walk,” he said.

“Starting your day and week out right is crucial to building resilience and create a positive platform for your day, week and year.

“A little physical activity, meeting new people, catching up with old mates, reflecting and having a good chat is a great way to start your Sunday morning and building good habits.”

With Mr Kent and Dr Durey on board as foundation members, the group hopes to reach all corners of the community, including those already supported by sporting and social clubs.

“We are all involved in sporting organisations currently and feel they are a crucial part of our lives and networks,” Mr Nilsson-Linne said.

“Self Seen will create a different environment, a relaxed space where we can be vulnerable, not be judged, meet people from different walks of life and a space where we treat a chat about your mental health the same as a chat about how many wickets Pat Cummins took last night.”

Longtime local Mathew Kent said he was keen to see fellow residents embrace the idea.

“Having dealt with my own mental health problems in my 20s I know how hard it can be for men to ask for help,” he said.

“I feel Self Seen will provide a safe environment where men can feel comfortable in discussing their personal feelings.”

Supported by passionate mental health advocate and retired GP Dr Peter Durey, the group will work alongside Mindful Margaret River to ensure trained personnel are on hand for help during catch ups.

“We aren’t a counselling service but just a place for like-minded men to gather, be vulnerable and have support,” Mr Nilsson-Linne said.

Self Seen Jan 2024

Mathew Kent and Dr Peter Durey, founding members of Self Seen Margaret River

“A space to talk about what’s been going on in their lives.

“We aim to capture the average working men who are at most risk to depression, suicide, substance abuse and committing domestic violence.

“It is a group run by average blokes, just like-minded men who are here for one another.

“Through Peter, along with his extensive history and passion for this kind of group, we have also been lucky enough to get support from Mindful Margaret River and are able to use their resources to help support us.”

And it truly is a group open to everyone – no matter their age, background, or motivation.

“We are a group for the average bloke and ultimately see our main group to be the working man or the recently retired.

“It’s hard to meet new people these days, many Margaret River residents have come from out of town, work on the mines, work hospitality and this can be a place to meet new people.

“While I wouldn’t say we encourage people to bring their kids down, they are more than welcome to come along with dad. Single dads or dads with working mums find it just as hard if not harder to meet new people.”

The physical aspect of the sessions is one close to Dr Durey’s heart, having long championed the connection between physical wellness and mental health.

“I am a huge fan of cycling, walking, rowing and physical activity for talking and as a key for making connections and increasing wellbeing,” he said.

With the first meet up this Sunday in Rotary Park, Mr Nilsson-Linne said men were welcome to come along and take part in whatever way they felt most comfortable.

“We are running a very relaxed group where every individual is encouraged to get from it what they want,” Mr Nilsson-Linne explained.

“There are no judgements and no competition. If you want to come for a feed, walk around on your own that is cool.

“If you are unable to walk we will make sure someone hangs with you as well.

“If you want to chat and let it all out we will make sure that there is someone that can listen and be there for you.”

Self Seen Margaret River will meet at Old Kate in Rotary Park on Sunday January 21 at 7am. Attendance is free and all men are welcome. For more info and to make contact, visit the Self Seen – Margaret River Facebook page.

First published in the Augusta Margaret River Mail on 17 January 2024.

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