Born in Geelong Victoria, Tony is the eldest of five siblings. Tony’s family immersed themselves in local community initiatives, and since then Tony has maintained this legacy by using his profile in the Geelong Region to raise awareness of mental health issues, particularly in men. Now based in Melbourne’s Bayside at St Kilda West he now takes a State and National focus on Mental Health solutions.
Tony completed a Business Degree in 1986, and went on to establish a successful real estate firm… life was looking good.
However, in 2005 everything changed when Tony’s brother Mick took his own life while at the same time, Tony was seeing a psychiatrist to deal with his own depression and anxiety. The loss of his Father to Leukaemia around the same time was another impact on his wellbeing.
“The fact that I was seeing a psychiatrist at the time my brother took his life turned out, in hindsight, to be very timely in terms of how I was able to cope and move on.
“The basic hope that I can offer others is that I was able to manage my depression, but the most critical point is that you need to ask for help.”
At the funeral of Tony’s brother Mick, Mick’s widow asked that family and friends support Beyond Blue and ever since, Tony has been a passionate supporter of Beyond Blue and a strong advocate for mental health and wellbeing and stigma reduction.
Tony was instrumental in founding the AFL Beyond Blue Cup and the Grey Cats supporter group of the Geelong Cats AFL Club. He has also supported the Western Bulldog’s “Sons of The West” Men’s Health Program. Since 2012 he has been a supporter of Geelong’s ‘Gentleman’s Lunch’ as part of the Movember Campaign, including being the leading fundraiser with a Handle Bar moustache! He also was the driving force to set up a Community Bank. In 2016 he was a nominee in the inaugural Australian Mental Health Prize run by UNSW.
Tony now stays well by maintaining a good work-life balance between his business, relationships, finances and physical health, as well as travelling with loved ones. He believes “the best exercise that you can do is to help someone else who is down to get up again.” He uses this personal philosophy to actively promote the Mental Health solution of Social Connection, particularly through Volunteering and Mentoring. He shares a great story about gratitude based on his Volunteer Tourism travels on a remote tropical island off the coast of PNG.
He supports the importance of putting yourself and your own needs first, as part of what is required to be able to meet the responsibilities and obligations that we are accountable for.
As a Beyond Blue Ambassador, Tony shares his story of depression and recovery, and the suicide of his brother to encourage others to take action to get help for depression and anxiety.