‘Extremely proud’: CBH joins forces with RFDS and Lifeline WA to raise funds and awareness of mental health

Headshot of Shannon Verhagen
Lifeline WA Chief Executive Officer Lorna McGregor, CBH Group chief executive Ben Macnamara and RFDS WA CEO Rebecca Tomkinson.
Camera IconLifeline WA Chief Executive Officer Lorna McGregor, CBH Group chief executive Ben Macnamara and RFDS WA CEO Rebecca Tomkinson. Credit: Supplied

Australia’s biggest bulk handler has thrust its support behind a new campaign raising funds for and awareness of much-needed mental health services in the bush and in WA farming communities.

CBH Group on December 23 announced it had entered into a partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service WA and Lifeline WA to support their Flights for Life appeal.

It will turn a fleet of planes into “flying billboards” for mental health, with CBH Group’s logo set to sit alongside Lifeline WA’s 13 11 14 number on an RFDS WA PC-12 aircraft until March.

It comes as both Lifeline WA and RFDS experience “unprecedented and sustained demand” over the past two years.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


In 2020/21, 421 patients required emergency retrieval by RFDS WA, with a “significant” increase in patients needing mental health care, while Lifeline WA answered more than 65,000 calls over the past 12 months — its highest number in history.

During the festive season, a call for help is made every 30 seconds.

CBH chief executive Ben Macnamara said the co-operative was extremely proud to support the Flight for Life appeal.

“We’re proud to be able to support our major partners, RFDS WA and Lifeline WA, in their appeal to provide support for Western Australians who may be struggling with their mental health,” he said.

“Both of these organisations are headed by chief executives who hail from WA regions, with Lorna from Lifeline WA growing up in Narembeen and Rebecca from RFDS WA from Northam.

“Both have an acute understanding of the needs of grain growers and have the motivation to spread the message of support far and wide.

“We have been long-term supporters of the RFDS WA for the past eight years, supporting their aeromedical fund and assisting with the surveying of runways located in our grain growing communities.

“While our partnership with Lifeline WA is relatively new, we’re pleased to have supported the recent publication of the Regional Crisis Resource Pack, which aims to be a central source of contact information for mental health services in the grain growing regions.”

Lifeline WA chief executive officer Lorna MacGregor said Christmas time was a season of joy and celebration for many, but sadly for others it could be a time of anxiety, loneliness, and isolation.

“For people living and working in regional and remote Western Australia, where access to general health and mental health services can be limited, holidays can feel even more isolating,” she said.

“Be assured Lifeline WA are at the end of the phone and we encourage anyone who needs to talk to call 13 11 14.”

RFDS WA chief executive Rebecca Tomkinson said the Flying Doctor retrieved about eight patients experiencing mental health issues each week.

“We are extremely proud to be partnering with Lifeline WA to help raise awareness of mental health issues right across Western Australia,” she said.

“CBH Group and the wider grain growing community in Western Australia have provided significant support for the Flying Doctor in WA for many years and we are thrilled to have their support for our Flights for Life campaign.”

Donations to the campaign can be made through the RFDS website rfds-wa.giveeasy.org/flights-for-life, with funds received split between the two charities.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails