Farewell to Des Whybird, after 9 years on the RRMH board, we are farewelling Des. Des has been an integral part of the movements and progress of Rural and Remote Mental Health, we hope this next chapter for Des is fulfilling in every way. Thank you for your contribution to such an important cause and for helping us to champion our message and improve the lives of those living in rural and remote areas of Australia.

“I’ve enjoyed 9 years on RRMH Board, which is the maximum allowed under the Constitution. My thanks to RRMH Founder Dr Jennifer Bowers, whom I met about 15 years ago at an AICD seminar when I was the CEO of GHD Group. I was impressed by her efforts to improve outcomes in remote communities. At that time Jennifer was based in Cairns, where I had once lived and had business interests through GHD, so we kept in contact and I was very pleased to be invited to join the RRMH Board,” said Des.

“Seeing Dr Jennifer Bowers’ vision being implemented, despite considerable setbacks and challenges such as the GFC and more recent pandemic, and the successful transition to new leadership in the past few years have been most pleasing”.

“Having worked in the challenging construction industry for 38 years, including the latter years in company leadership roles, I have seen how individuals and teams have had to respond to many pressing time dependent circumstances, and the cumulative impact this may have, especially in times of economic difficulty such as recessions and even more so in remote locations. So mental health has been an area of interest for the past 30 years, and accordingly, I was inspired by Dr Bowers.”

“There are many small groups doing wonderful work locally through out Australia, where the local people know their community and what is needed. The importance of local participation was something I learned at GHD which as I recall has about 40 offices across Australia. It would be wonderful if these local groups were supported with a coordinated approach to minimise duplication of their efforts and to help ensure they have ready access to best practices.”

“RRMH has developed an outstanding range of culturally specific programs to help improve understanding and outcomes for rural, resource and indigenous communities.”

“Since retiring from the role of Chairman of GHD Global in 2011, I have had the opportunity to enjoy a number of voluntary roles in addition to RRMH, which has allowed me the opportunity to give a little back in return for the wonderful opportunities I have enjoyed due to my good fortune of being born in Australia to parents who sacrificed to ensure I received the best education possible. I am still involved on the board of Ipswich Grammar School and hoping to find more time for family as well as lowering my golf handicap.”

“I would also like to wish the RRMH team all the best in the future, especially to chair Genevieve Fraser and fellow board members, and to Joe Hooper and staff – all wonderful people who form a great team and who have given me a very rewarding experience in my time with RRMH.”