A Lake of the Woods District Hospital employee has walked away with some hardware from her hard work and dedication to the patients and the community she serves.

Director of Mental Health and Addictions, Denise Forsyth recently won the Jane Chamberlin Award. The award was created to recognize outstanding achievements in Mental Health relating to General Hospitals / Schedule I’s in Ontario.

Forsyth was nominated for the award by the LWDH.

“It’s very humbling to know that I was nominated, and surprising and even more humbling to know that I had won the award. I have had the good fortune of working alongside so many great individuals during my career,” said Forsyth.

“Most importantly I’ve had the privilege to be able to work alongside a lot of individuals who had challenges and lived experience with mental health and addictions, who have been great teachers on my career path,” she added.

She began her journey at LWDH in 1995 when she started as a social worker, then moved into a manager position, before moving into her current role two years ago.

Forsyth mentioned the importance of her job is to embed in the work to provide quality care to the community.

“You do this work because it’s your passion, it’s really what you want to do, it’s not easy there’s a lot of gray. It’s about striving for the perfect but not dismissing the good, and all the quality improvements that we can make to enhance the lives of others,” explained Forsyth.

After being in her role for some time she brought up some areas where the field of mental health and addictions can grow.

“The alignment and the collaboration with all of our community partners to provide the right service to the right people at the right time. Also looking at much consideration to the voice of lived experience. The other important component is the area of cultural humility and cultural training, and embedding that in the fabric of the work that we do,”

Forsyth concluded by saying that she has received an outpouring response from friends, family, co-workers, and the community for the award.

Jane Chamberlin was an Executive Director for the Association of General Hospital Psychiatric Services. Upon her death, it was decided to honour her by bestowing an award in her name to someone who has given of themselves toward the betterment of mental health services within General Hospitals / Schedule I facilities. It is awarded in conjunction with the Jane Chamberlin Lecture at the Ontario Psychiatric Association Annual Conference.