Pictured: The Men of Doveton graduates at Doveton College
The inaugural Men of Doveton program wrapped up on a high last Monday night as 13 men took to the stage at Doveton College for their graduation ceremony. For some, this was the first graduation that they had ever attended.
The 12-week program is designed to promote mental and physical health amongst men in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, where men are experiencing social isolation at an increasing rate. It was for this exact reason that Andrew Bazeley wanted to join Men of Doveton – to make social connections. However, he found much more than that and said the program inspired him to improve his lifestyle.
“I want to be fitter, there’s a lot of health problems in my family – I’ve got type two diabetes and I want to see my kids grow up,” said Andrew.
“It [the program] got me to try new things and it improved my mental health.”
The participants met once a week to engage in an hour of team sport, followed by educational training sessions surrounding topics such as mental health and nutrition. These sessions aimed to spark conversation and break traditional stereotypes.
Barry Harrison, YMCA Casey Area Manager, featured on ABC Radio to talk about the program and said that after a cooking class the men started their own discussion that questioned traditional male/female roles and why men don’t cook. Since then, one member has even started his own cooking blog!
Along with mental wellbeing, the program also promotes men’s health.
“At one of the sessions Ted Whitten Jr talked to the group about prostate cancer, which lead to all of the participants going to the doctor and getting a check-up,” said Barry.
Men of Doveton has had a significant positive impact on the lives of the participants involved and is only the start of an exciting new chapter of health for these men. The group already meets outside of the program and will continue to do so now that it's come to an end.
The graduation allowed the men to reflect on their personal growth and share their journey with family and friends.
“Each man that took part in the program left a changed man,” said Tori Norris, Community Engagement Coordinator in the YMCA Casey region.
“Leaders were born, knowledge was acquired and better fitness was achieved.”
A second Men of Doveton program has already been locked in for the second half of 2018, and as long as funding continues, there will be more in 2019 and 2020.