Toni Garretty started working with people in Health as a Nurse and during her career went on to specialise in Disability and Aged Care. In early 2002 Toni commenced work with a community-based organisation providing education, advocacy and support to families and carers who supported someone with a lived experience of mental health issues.
For over a decade, Toni has been employed as the Clinical Coordinator for the Family and Carer Mental Health Program within the NSW Health Service and currently holds this position within the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District. Through Toni’s long-standing history of supporting families and carers, she recognises the significance and value in working collaboratively, and supports clinicians to strengthen their skills and confidence in family inclusive practice, to create optimum outcomes for all.
Toni is a qualified educator and highly experienced trainer who develops and delivers a range of training initiatives for families, professionals, organisations and community members. This includes her reaching Master Facilitator status as a Mental Health First Aid instructor.
In 2012, she co-developed with Dr Annemaree Bickerton, the highly regarded ‘Staying Connected When Emotions Run High’ intervention workshops for families and professional version workshops. These workshops use Bowen theory principles to normalise human responses (which at times of stress can be unhelpful) and coach participants in responding to emotion dysregulation effectively. These have been running across NSW since then, with consistently high attendance.
In her personal life Toni, has been a strong supporter and advocate for family and friends who experience mental health issues. She understands family systems well - as wife, mother of four adult children and grandmother. Her genuine acceptance and non-judgement of others, ability to maintain firm values-based boundaries and sense of humour have helped her navigate the “full catastrophe” / the lived experience of family life.
Toni is looking forward to working within the Mental Health Commission of New South Wales as it will provide further opportunities to reach the wider community, enhancing acceptance, support and understanding for those struggling with mental health issues and their families.
Toni Garretty's appointment as Deputy Commissioner is from December 2018 until November 2021.