ON the surface, 32-year-old Ben Cudmore of Port Macquarie looks like he's got it all - good looks, a loving wife, two beautiful kids and local popularity as an ex-rugby league star.
But scratch the surface, and you find a deeper story - one that has seen Ben struggle with drug addiction, mental illness and financial loss.
His story, in Men's Health Week, is an important reminder to check in on a mate and offer support when life takes an unexpected detour.
The Happy Days Podcast shares Ben's journey of growth.
It is a place to share experiences and knowledge and how to take meaningful action to make a difference.
Ben, the podcast host, has an ability to speak candidly about mental health issues, a willingness to seek help when needed and is passionate about helping other people.
It is purposely vulnerable, raw and open and I'm throwing mental health political correctness against the wall.Ben Cudmore
Growing up in Port Macquarie and travelling around the world, Ben started a successful business and married his sweetheart Katie in Santorini, Greece. He has a baby on the way and two beautiful kids, Poppy and Lucy.
Ben is also a recovering drug addict, suicide attempt survivor, battles mental illness and is in his third year of bankruptcy.
Life came crashing down around him in 2017.
"The Happy Days podcast is a frank discussion around mental illness, addiction, suicidal thoughts, suicide prevention, suicide loss survival and issues that some men struggle with," Ben said.
"I wanted to give people hope. I wanted to find out how people overcame the challenges they were faced with, to get them to where they are today.
"People have unique stories; and the Happy Days Podcast is a safe place to share stories of grit, strength, survival and hope. I wanted the platform to serve as a space for relatability and change.
"It is purposely vulnerable, raw and open and I'm throwing mental health political correctness against the wall."
Ben says he hit rock bottom. He admits he screwed life up but to recover, had to be honest with himself.
"I had been living a secret life. No-one knew the extent of my drug addiction, not even my wife," he said.
"The drug ice took my soul. I lost my friendships, I was depressed and feeling guilty about everything which eventually culminated in a suicide attempt."
Sharing his story is Ben's panacea and knowing he can help change the course for other people who are on the same destructive trajectory has given him strength.
Some of the guests on his podcast share intimate details about the struggle to reach out and ask for help from alcohol addiction, bullying, depression, childhood trauma, life-threatening illness and wanting to end their life.
"I am lucky to have found things that have renewed my soul. The Happy Days Podcast is my therapy," Ben said.
"I love a bloody good chat and I am learning and growing through meeting great humans. This podcast lights me up. I am so happy for the support I am feeling through it. That is my mental self-care."
Ben uses physical activity to balances the mental self-care - he runs, goes to the gym and exercises every day.
"I express gratitude for having such a supportive wife and great kids. That is my emotional self-care," he said.
"I now have a goal that is meaningful to me, which is the greatest self-care you can ask for.
"I have learned that great strength and growth is a result of effort and struggle."
Tell us about your local corporate sponsors?
Local business supporters Kristian Murphy and David Evans from HEM Property, Emma Schuch from Strive Financial Group, Benny Bruen from Bruen Constructions, each donate $50 when Ben uploads a new episode. Constable Screenprinting and Embroidery have sponsored a merchandise range.
The funds are donated to Lifeline Mid North Coast for telephone crisis support.
You can follow Ben's podcast here www.facebook.com/happydayspodcast