TACT is an educational and accessible podcast series about sex, sexual health, our bodies and identities, and mental health. In each episode, host Jen Seyderhelm joins in conversation with a range of guests who offer judgement-free advice, insight and information relevant to the lives of all young adults.
TACT is made possible thanks to a YWCA and Beyond Bank grant, and with the support of Women’s Health Matters, the voice for women’s health and wellbeing in the ACT; and Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT. The series is produced in partnership with The Owl at the University of Canberra.
Our theme song is Satisfied Minds by the fabulous Canberra band Miroji.
If anything we’ve talked about has raised concerns for you, there are many free support services you can reach out to for help, including:
13 11 14
(1800 737 732)
(13 92 76)
Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander support service
About the host
Jen Seyderhelm started professionally in radio more than 20 years ago as an announcer and later a producer, journalist, news reader and sports commentator. She is currently the Co-Ordinator for Rebus Theatre’s (Theatre For Social Change) Project Alchemy.
Jen teaches podcast, broadcast and audio production skills to federal, state and ACT governments, business and arts organisations, schools and TAFE. She was a member of the judging panel for the 2021 Australian Podcast Awards.
With a Bachelor of Arts from Macquarie University, a Certificate IV in Music Industry Skills, Counselling Diploma and Training and Assessment Certificate IV, Jen loves communication and storytelling. In 2021, she created an Australian first Certificate II in Podcasting Foundations taught nationally through the Academy of Interactive Entertainment.
Jen’s previous work includes 20/40 and One Hit Wonderful, a countdown of one hit wonders in Australia.
Jen Seyderhelm has been married for 20 years (her love story is epic), has two teenage boys, a healthy caffeine and music trivia addiction, and owns the bestest dog in the world.
In this TACT season preview, Jen chats with University of Canberra students at a Faculty of Arts and Design morning tea about sex, dating, bodies, pronouns and more! The first full episode of TACT will hit your podcast feed in a couple of weeks.
In this episode, Jen Seyderhelm is joined by TACT collaborator Jodie Kirkness to talk about how you can be your own best health advocate. Jodie is a journalist at Women’s Health Matters and a promoter of patient self-advocacy. At age 17, Jodie was diagnosed with a high-grade malignant Phyllodes tumour that resulted in five weeks of intensive radiation and a radical mastectomy. She chose not to tell people what she was going through, including many of her family and friends. Now at 24, Jodie is a passionate health advocate for both herself and others.
Many people often feel intimidated, confused and overwhelmed when visiting their doctor and navigating the healthcare system. Jen and Jodie discuss how to combat these issues by advocating for yourself and knowing your rights as a patient. They share tips for seeking appropriate health care, accessing health information, resolving health issues and identifying available treatment options. They discuss how to become an active participant in your healthcare journey by creating an open dialogue with your doctor and giving feedback to ensure you are receiving quality care. Knowing how to advocate for yourself protects your rights and ensures that you are heard.
Episode producer: Sarah Grieb
This episode of TACT is about body image.
What are the biggest contributors to a person’s body image, positive or negative?
What are ways we can improve our own thoughts and feelings about our bodies?
What can we do if we’re worried about the visible effects a negative body image is having on someone?
What is meant by body positivity, body acceptance and body neutrality?
How much is our mental health and body image interconnected?
Jen’s guest for this episode is Dr Vivienne Lewis, a Clinical Psychologist who specialises in the treatment of people with body image issues and eating disorders. Vivienne has written two books — Positive Bodies: Loving The Skin You’re In & No Body’s Perfect — to help and guide children, young people and adults who experience body image issues. She is in the process of writing her third book which will assist health professionals working with people with eating disorders.
Episode producers: Sarah Grieb and Haidyn Vecera
Let’s talk about sex.
In this episode of TACT, Jen is joined by Kym Robinson to get to the heart of those topics many of us think of as too intimate or embarrassing to discuss. Jen and Kym talk candidly about a range of issues surrounding intimacy, sexual health and communication. Kym is a sex therapist who works with couples, individuals and groups to help people explore the diverse topics of sexuality, pleasure and the importance of consent. She uses a person-centred approach in her counselling to support her clients in a safe and judgment-free environment and believes everyone has a right to a happy and healthy sex life.
It can be intimidating to talk about issues relating to sexual health, but they are important conversations to have. Many people lack basic knowledge about reproductive health and are unsure how to navigate the topic of sex in new relationships. Better sexual education programs are necessary to ensure everyone has the resources to engage in safe sex and be treated with respect. And remember, no one has the right to pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to do, and always get consent from your partner before engaging in any sexual activity.
Episode producer: Sarah Grieb
This week’s episode of TACT is about mental health, wellbeing and resilience.
There’s a lot of pressures in young adulthood to live a fulfilling life when you may be juggling entering the workforce, finding your identity, travelling, studying, home life, meeting or making new friendships, becoming independent, and taking on new responsibilities.
Looking after your mental health and wellbeing is an ongoing process of finding the right balance to physical health, a sense of purpose, feeling connected with others, and feeling safe and supported.
The trait of resilience is embodied by Jen’s guest in this episode, Dr Kate Grarock. Kate is an ecologist, hiker, superstar of STEM, mum and YouTube creator.
Perhaps you’ve seen Kate on the SBS reality series Alone Australia, where Kate maintains a joyous respect for her environment and conditions despite being alone and reliant only on herself and her abilities, mental and physical, to survive.
Respectful relationships – both romantic and platonic – are an important part of a healthy life. These connections are critical for both our mental and physical health, and they have the ability to bring out the best in us. Unfortunately, so many of us aren’t taught how to start and maintain healthy relationships and are often exposed to examples of unhealthy or abusive relationships during our childhood.
In this episode of TACT, Jen is joined by Dr Sheridan Kerr, who is a Senior Director at Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT, to talk about how to build and maintain respectful relationships with the people in our lives. Dr Kerr and Jen discuss the qualities of a healthy relationship, signs of abusive behaviour and how to improve communication with your loved ones. It is important that you feel safe, seen and comfortable in all your relationships, and work on practicing open and honest communication. Recognising areas within yourself that need improvement is also fundamental to building long-term and fulfilling relationships with your friends, family and partners.
Contraception works to prevent pregnancy and some methods can also protect yourself and others from contracting a sexually transmitted infection. You may have heard about condoms, the pill, the implant (aka “the rod”) or you may not. The list of contraception options is extensive and can appear overwhelming. Talking to a medical professional can help you work out what the best option is for you and your circumstances. There is no “right” contraception for everyone and what suits you now may not suit you at a different phase of your life.
While using contraception helps to greatly reduce the chance of pregnancy, there is always a risk. Up to one-third of Australian women will experience an unplanned pregnancy in their lifetime, and more than half of these women were using at least one form of contraception at the time. After seeing a positive pregnancy test you may experience a myriad of different emotions such as excitement or fear. And then after the dust has settled, the next question to cross your mind is, “Well, what do I do next?” In Australia, women have access to medical and support services if they choose to have a baby, or they have the option to terminate a pregnancy if they wish to do so. Whether a woman decides to continue or terminate a pregnancy, the choice is hers to make.
In this episode of TACT, Jen is joined by Senior Learning Co-ordinator for CCCares, Susan Johnson, to talk about contraception, pregnancy and having a baby. CCCares is a unique program offering education and support services for pregnant teenagers and young parents in the ACT. Susan shares some important tips from CCCares students and parents around the value of sleep, asking for help and putting on a boy’s nappy versus a girls. Jen and Susan discuss the struggles and joy that pregnancy can bring as well as advice for new parents. Pregnancy can be a wonderful or overwhelming time, and no two pregnancies are the same. There are a range of options available to pregnant women to support them during their journey, and whatever a woman decides to do with her pregnancy is her decision.
This episode of TACT is about gender identity and pronouns. Jen Seyderhelm’s guest is Dr Vik Fraser, Executive Director of A Gender Agenda. Jen and Vik talk about being intersex or endosex, why it isn’t up to you to dead name someone, unisex toilets, how to approach pronoun conversations, the four steps to being an active bystander, and how we can be an ally with members of the LGBTIQA+ community.
After the record button was turned off, Vik spoke about joy. The joy that they have witnessed when you feel that you are now expressing who you are inside, finding your tribe, and feeling safe to be yourself. This episode supports that joy and visibility.