Alfred resident Sylvie Bourgon has been honored with the Consumer Hope and Resilience Award by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Champlain East.

A personal support worker at Villa St. Luc seniors residence in Curran, Bourgon was nominated by her friend Hélène Roy.

“Sylvie is a person welcoming to people, she is an elder care attendant and her work is greatly appreciated,” Roy wrote in her nomination. “No matter how she is feeling, Sylvie always makes sure to give her full attention and smile.”

Someone who has struggled with her own mental health issues in the past, Bourgon has been providing support to a friend who was herself experiencing difficulties.

“She’s doing better – she is back at work now,” said Bourgeon. “I talk to her every two or three days. If she doesn’t call me I call her to make sure she is OK.”

The award winner says she has learned methods of coping, and encourages others to focus on positive aspects of their lives.

“Sometimes it’s hard to look on the bright side, because when you are in a depression you always see black,” Bourgon says. “You have to try and look on the bright side, even if you don’t see a bright side.”

The Hope and Resliency Award is presented each year by CMHA Champlain East.

“It shows that you can improve, recovery is possible,” said Angele D’Alessio, Mental Health Promoter for CMHA Champlain East.

Bourgeon says it is important to talk to others when experiencing feelings of depression or loneliness. With the support of others, including staff at the Canadian Mental Health Association, there is always hope.

“Never give up,” Bourgon emphasizes. “You may always experience mental health difficulties, but you can learn a different way of coping.”