Sons of the West kicking health goals in Melbourne’s north

Sons of the West kicking health goals in Melbourne’s north

11 October, 2018

Thirty men from Melbourne’s north are now better equipped to manage their physical and mental health after graduating from the Sons of the West in the North men’s health program.

The six week program – delivered in partnership between Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (EMPHN), Whittlesea City Council and Western Bulldogs Community Foundation – provided two hours of physical activity and health education each week, tackling topics on physical and mental health, and wellbeing.

Graduate Gordon Dennis said his health has improved as a result of the program.

In July last year, Gordon developed prostate cancer. Post-surgery it was discovered he had Lymphoma and then he developed two post-surgery hernias.

Earlier this year Gordon was really struggling as another round of sinus infections compounded things, when he received a flyer that Sons of the West were coming to his area.

“Being retired it is so easy to stay in bed the extra while or not go out because it is cold or hot or raining or whatever,” he said. 

“Along came Sons of the West to show how you should stretch muscles and feel a bit of pain, and then get out there and keep doing a bit every day.

“Sons of the West in the North is fabulous for men’s health and wellbeing.”

EMPHN CEO Robin Whyte said the unique approach of this program reaches out to the men who might struggle to ask for help with their health.

“This program uses football and physical activities as a way of bringing men together in a comfortable setting to discuss wellbeing and mental health,” she said.

Whittlesea City Council Mayor Cr Kris Pavlidis said the community needs programs like this.

“We know that men in our community are at risk from suicide, and targeted programs like this really stand to help people,” she said.

Part of the funding for Sons of The West in the North is from the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Place Based Suicide Prevention initiative. Eastern Melbourne PHN has partnered with DHHS to deliver the initiative in Whittlesea.

If you or someone you know needs to speak to someone about their mental health, Lifeline is available 24-hours for counselling, suicide prevention and mental health support on 13 11 14.


Media enquiries: Ellie Cope 0488 382 033 

EMPHN’s Referral and Access Team can be reached by phone on 9800 1071, by secure fax on 8677 9510 or by emailing

About EMPHN: Eastern Melbourne PHN is a Primary Health Network funded by the Australian Government to improve the care and support people receive from health services. We aim to improve the health of our community by ensuring people receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.