Using innovation to engage men from CALD communities in health initiatives

The Sons of the West (SOTW) men’s health program has been running successfully since 2014, aiming to improve the mental health and wellbeing of men though interactive presentations, physical activities and events.

Up to a third of the programs participants are born in a country other than Australia, and the western region of Melbourne and Victoria is one of the fastest growing and most culturally diverse areas in the state. 

With the increasing importance of mental health and wellbeing, there is a need to better engage Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) groups into community-based programs like the SOTW.


Thanks to a grant from the Movember Foundation, VU researcher Associate Professor Camilla Brockett and the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation will be able to scale a bespoke pilot to better engage more men from CALD backgrounds in Melbourne’s west.

The free, ten-week health program supports mental health and wellbeing outcomes for men aged 18 years and over, with face-to-face literacy programs that build knowledge about a range of topics including nutrition, gender equity, masculinity and mental health.


Engaging CALD communities

Adopting a 'one size fits all' approach to engaging CALD communities in health initiatives is detrimental. The generous support of the Movember program helps the SOTW to address this, reaching more men and create positive outcomes.

Movember’s support will see Victoria University and WBCF build on the successful pilot program run in 2021–22 as part the VU RISE Promoting Healthy and Active Living: Innovation in Engaging CALD Communities.

Tin Nguyen, a graduate from the 2022 pilot program, said “Sons of the West gave me a chance to gain more knowledge about healthy living, as well as sharing what I know with other people.

For me, the most meaningful thing that Sons of the West brought is the inspiration of challenging myself to become better every day.