When we hear the word depression we may traditionally think about sadness or having the blues. Depression literally means to “press down” and/ or a feeling of being “pressed down” (Kanter, Busch, Weeks, Landes, 2008). Depression can be a mood or an emotional state and is the most common clinical diagnosis in the United States. Depression affects more than 21 million adults and almost 4 million youth (ages 12-17) every year (mental health America, 2022).
That means that over 1 in 10 of our youth are experiencing symptoms of depression that include feeling empty, restless, irritable, difficulty concentration or making decisions, lack of energy or pleasure in activities they once enjoyed, hopeless, worthless and even thoughts of death or suicide. Without interventions, depression can impact one's ability to function at school, work, at home or in social settings.
In the winter months, depressive symptoms increase due to the “holiday blues” as the holidays can be a lonely and stressful time (NAMI, 2022). So what can we do to encourage healthy habits towards maintaining our mental health as we approach the holiday season?
- Identify and Express how you are currently feeling
- Set goals using the SMART method (specific-measurable-attainable-relevant-time) Spend time in nature
- Spend time in nature
- Practice gratitude
- Assess sleep and diet routines
- Schedule an appointment with a mental health provider
Here at Guada Psych, we have a highly-trained staff of clinicians that provide a safe space to explore any challenges you might be having and how to overcome them. And don’t forget, you are not alone! If you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts of suicide, please use the 9-8-8 suicide and crisis lifeline for immediate assistance.
Kanter JW, Busch AM, Weeks CE, Landes SJ. The nature of clinical depression: symptoms, syndromes, and behavior analysis. Behav Anal. 2008 Spring;31(1):1-21. doi: 10.1007/BF03392158. PMID: 22478499; PMCID: PMC2395346.
Mental Health America (2022).
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National Alliance on Mental Health (2014).
Mental Health and the Holiday Blues
Bianca, CS.D., Ramona, P.L. & Ioana, M.V. The relationship between coping strategies and life quality in major depressed patients.
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Unützer J, Park M. Strategies to improve the management of depression in primary care. Prim Care. 2012 Jun;39(2):415-31. doi: 10.1016/j.pop.2012.03.010. PMID: 22608874; PMCID: PMC4127627.
Healthline (2022). How to navigate depression: 22 things to try. Retrieved from:
University of California (2016). SMART goals: A How to Guide. Retrieved from
We are very excited that Sujai (pronounced “;Su-Hi”;) has decided to join our staff after completing her clinical internship with us in 2021-2022. Sujai completed her MA in Counseling Psychology with a generalist concentration, and she is currently working on a three part certification in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Regarding what drew her to the mental health field, Sujai says that she is passionate about helping patients find their voice. She also enjoys being able to provide a safe space where people can feel heard, understood and validated. She works from an attachment systemic framework and utilizes other techniques and interventions based on what will work for the patient.
Sandy Alexopoulos is an advanced therapy extern currently pursuing her doctorate in clinical psychology at Adler University. She believes every patient has within them the strength and ability to accomplish their goals; she sees therapy as a means to help guide patients in meeting their goals and needs. Sandy is passionate about being able to offer mental health services to diverse groups. Sandy currently works with our adolescent and adult patients in the individual therapy setting.
Leah is completing her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. She is pursuing a career in counseling under the belief that people are authorities on their own life path, however at times they may need help navigating the detours. Leah has a positive and upbeat attitude that is contagious, and she has been a great addition to our team.
Sam is in our doctoral student training program where he is focusing on psychological assessment. Sam got into the field of psychology because he finds the psychological sciences interesting. He also appreciates human beings and their unique ways of existing in the world and wanted to learn more. Sam is excited to further his knowledge on the brain sciences and is moving swiftly through his assessment externship with ease as he works to master the psychological assessment process-he is definitely a natural!
Nicholas is a third-year doctoral student in the Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program at Adler University. He says that he got into the field because he has a passion to help others. He also has a special appreciation for those working in the mental health field after having been helped successfully through some of his own personal life challenges. Nicholas is working with adults and adolescents in the therapy setting at Guada Psych Services. He uses an integrative and interpersonal approach that is influenced by psychoanalytic and CBT modalities. Nicholas’ gentle and upbeat approach to people as well as his serious attention to detail make him a great fit for our clinical training program as well as our patient population.
As a licensed therapist, Marissa came to Guada Psych with a passion for systems work and building efficiency in the field of mental health. She believes in the power of equity and accessible services and resources for all. Here at Guada Psych, Marissa is our Practice Manager.
Dr. Joe Serrano is a psychologist with over 14 years of varied clinical experiences in community mental health counseling centers, private practices, and inpatient facilities across the Midwest. He is extremely skilled at providing patients a route towards their goals and guiding them along this journey. He works with teens, young and middle-aged adults, and elderly patients.
Sarah English has been at Guada Psych since 2017 treating adolescent and adult patients. She is also one of our clinical supervisors. Sarah is an extremely talented mental health provider with a wide range of therapeutic skills that allow her to offer patients a multidisciplinary approach. Sarah works with adolescents and families as well as adults experiencing difficulty maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle as a result of their mental health. In her own words, "I help individuals and families who have gone through experiences not everyone can understand. I enjoy equipping my patients with targeted skills to help them return to enjoying everyday life. My priority is to build a healthy relationship and rapport that creates a safe and open environment. I build realistic and attainable treatment plans with my patients to bring them relief."
Dr. Liara Montesano has been practicing at Guada Psych since October of 2019 and has proven to be an invaluable asset to our team. According to Dr. Montesano, "I view human beings as having vast amounts of potential that is often held back by different complications. I chose clinical psychology because of my desire to see individuals become the best versions of themselves." Today, Dr. Montesano works with adult patients in therapy and assessment/evaluation. She is also the clinical director of our training program. Dr. Montesano's patients have often reached out to give feedback regarding how much they appreciate her sharp skill set and warm approach.
I opened Guada Psych Services to fill the gap in quality mental health care that is now available to all people. I am very lucky to have found wonderful people to work alongside in fulfilling this endeavor. I got into mental health because I have always had a strong interest in human behavior and relationships as well as language and social patterns, which are a great fit for the field of clinical psychology. More importantly, though, I have always had compassion for people and the circumstances surrounding their mental health. Guada Psych is a place where all people can come to receive top-notch care by highly skilled professionals who take a patient-centered approach. We offer therapy and diagnostic services in an outpatient setting and are available for individuals ages ten and up.
Dr. Stephen Stewart is a new addition to Guada Psych who brings a wide array of clinical experience spanning over 10 years. Dr. Steve works with clients across the lifespan and has experience working with youth and adults in a variety of settings, including in-patient hospitalization, intensive out-patient, community mental health, school-based, and correctional settings. He enjoys using a client-centered approach where the client is the expert of their own lives and Dr. Steve can help guide them to an attainable and goal-oriented solution.
Work Cell: 847-204-9602
Dr. Stacy Stewart is a welcomed addition to our team of highly skilled clinical psychologists. According to Dr. Stewart, we often encounter life events that impact our ability to accurately see, meaningfully regulate, and genuinely believe in ourselves. Dr. Stewart believes that therapy is a collaborative process that assists us in uncovering our truest selves and providing us with tools to live a life aligned with our core values. Dr. Stewart takes a strengths-focused, trauma-informed approach with clients