Guy J. Iacono, LCSW

Guy J. Iacono, LCSW

Guy Iacono is a licensed psychotherapist. After overcoming adversity in his younger years, Guy decided to use his life experience to help others. He attended Saint Joseph’s University where he studied sociology and philosophy and eventually went on to earn a Master’s in social work from Monmouth University. Before joining Minding Your Mind, Guy worked in both an outpatient and partial hospitalization program. Most recently, he served as clinician working with dual diagnoses (mental illness & chemical addiction). His experience ranges from addiction and crisis intervention to mood and personality disorders. In addition to his role with Minding Your Mind, Guy works with individual and groups in a private practice and coaches a youth baseball team. Contact Guy at guy@mindingyourmind.org.

Kristin Page, MS, E-RYT

Kristin Page, MS, E-RYT

Kristin Page was introduced to meditation and the cultivation of stillness when she was a child. After a lifetime of employing these skills through her everyday life, she formalized her practice of Mindfulness Meditation and has been studying and practicing strategically for over 15 years. In 2009 she founded Kristin Page Yoga, Meditation & Wellness, an organization with the mission to increase personal wellness for individuals across a diverse clientele. Her instruction has brought her in front of elementary school children, teenagers, elite athletic teams, executives, and many others. Kristin completed an intensive two-year Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training program with Clearlight Meditation Institute. As a faculty member at Clearlight, she guides students through an eight-week beginner Meditation Series, preparing them to move onto deepening practices.

Sheila Gillin, LCSW

Sheila Gillin, LCSW

Sheila is a licensed social worker and a certified child and adolescent psychotherapist with over fifteen years of experience in the mental health field. In addition to her work with Minding Your Mind, she has a clinical counseling practice where she provides individual, family and group counseling to a broad range of clients including adults, adolescents and children. She also serves as the Director of Graduate Admissions at Bryn Mawr College.

Katya

Katya

From a young age Katya struggled with anxiety and depression, but couldn’t make sense of what she was experiencing. A confluence of factors pushed her mental state into a negative place as Katya struggled to find her place in the world. katya

Katya was a “people-pleaser.” Her childhood was preoccupied with making her family proud. The daughter of parents who came from traditional ethnic cultures made her feel pressure to be the “all-American girl.” With her parents longing to assimilate to American culture, they put a great deal of importance on achieving The American Dream. As she struggled to develop meaningful family connections, she strived to be everything she thought her parents wanted. She couldn’t see that her parents were simply providing her with opportunities they never had, and only wanted her to be happy and healthy.

When she reached adolescence, she began to seek validation from her peers. The challenges of growing up in her small, affluent town were exacerbated by a genetic predisposition to mental illness, lack of understanding, and traumatic events.

When she was 15 years old, Katya was sexually assaulted, leading to a subsequent unhealthy relationship. Unable to process these experiences and feeling too ashamed to share her trauma with those around her, Katya sank deeply into depression, anxiety, and negative coping mechanisms. She pushed herself to maintain the image of being a good student and pretending to have it all together – she was on the school newspaper, honor roll, and the cheerleading team. She was a School Peer Leader, homecoming queen, and friendly to all. Katya feared being seen as “the sad girl” so she hid her depression out of fear of rejection.

Eventually, she became lost in depression, anxiety and negative coping – not knowing herself or who she wanted to be. During a study abroad experience in Florence, Italy, Katya broke down, unable to function or continue her daily life. This pushed her to finally get the help she needed in therapy and began her journey of healing. Through talk therapy and art, Katya found positive ways to manage her mental health and connect with the people around her. She leaned on the people who truly care about her – her family. Now healthy and accepting of herself, Katya empowers students to make healthy choices and build their own identity.

Equipped with a degree in advertising, her passion to help others, and ongoing mental wellness, Katya travels the country to educate students and adults about the stigma surrounding mental health issues and healthy relationships, and helps them understand empathy, consent, self-care, and positive coping skills. Her goal is to help others express themselves, and inform students about the messages that they receive from society and media regarding their physical and mental well-being.

Katya is based in southern New Jersey. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

 

Read what organizations have to say about Katya:

‘Katya did a fabulous job engaging our middle school students throughout her presentation. Katya’s presentation was heartfelt, real and dynamic. Her story allowed the audience to see how stigma regarding mental health can hold people back from getting the help they need. Katya gave the kids an understanding of how depression and anxiety if not addressed can be problematic. She gave the kids hope and understanding into how getting help can allow someone to get back their life back and turn things around in a positive healthy ” –Unity Charter School (NJ)

‘Katya’s presentation was exactly what we hoped it would be. Our students identified a need for mental health education/access during research for a civics project. When they found your organization, we didn’t know what to expect. Katya held firm the attention of students in grades 6-8 for nearly 2 hours, which is quite an accomplishment. A fellow staff member described our assembly as the most relevant in the 10 years of our school’s history. I completely agree.” – Staten Island School of Civic Leadership (NY)

Sarika

Ever since she can remember, Sarika held herself to impossible standards. She strived to be the best in all that she did, hoping to please those around her. Soon she became dependent on others’ approval for her own self-confidence. When she began to notice her sadness from the constant internal stress she was creating, she attempted to share her emotions with those around her. However, the way people reacted to these revelations was different than how they reacted to her achievements, and not in a positive way. Stung by that reception, she decided to keep her feelings hidden.

The worse Sarika felt inside, the more she needed approval on the outside. She searched for this anywhere she could find, either through praise from her teachers or acceptance from her peers. Still, Sarika was not able to feel truly okay. She started to hate who she was and the way she looked, and her sleeping and eating patterns changed. One day, her feelings took over her and she completely disassociated from herself. No longer able to hide her emotions, she was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety. Sarika felt herself losing control over her life and decided to ignore the diagnoses, continuing to seek validation through achievement. However, everything became worse when she began being cyberbullied, which deprived Sarika of the remaining confidence in herself. This increased her feelings of losing control. In an attempt to feel that she had control over something in her life, she began to self-harm, which ultimately led to a suicide attempt. Even then, Sarika still did not want to accept her diagnoses or seek treatment. Instead, she found unhealthy ways of managing her sadness and soon became victim to sexual assault, as well as an emotionally abusive relationship.

Sarika desired an escape from her life as it was and became thrilled when she was accepted into NYU. When she learned that even her acceptance to a world-renowned university was receiving criticism, she finally realized that she could no longer leave her self-worth in the hands of others. Sarika began to understand for that trying to be “perfect” was an unrealistic goal; nobody is perfect, and nobody can control how other people perceive them. If she stayed dependent on others’ approval instead of finding confidence within herself, she would never be happy.

Sarika decided to distance herself from what she thought others wanted and to focus on what she truly desired. She began to follow her passions for dance and writing, as well as befriend people who brought out the best in her. She finally accepted that she was worth something, and that she deserved to be happy. This led Sarika to therapy, where she learned about herself and how her mind works. She discovered the power of understanding and working through her emotions, rather than pushing them away. Sarika hopes to inspire others to accept themselves for who they are and to appreciate each and every quality they possess, regardless of social norms. She wants to motivate those who are struggling to seek help, and to empower listeners to become the sole master of their own minds.

Sarika is based in New Jersey. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

Lucas

Lucas

When Lucas was in high school, he’d tell you he had a perfect life. He was known for his no-stress, go-with-the-flow attitude, and an unshakeable confidence in his ability to achieve anything he put his mind to. No one would have ever thought he’d struggle with depression, including Lucas himself.

In his junior year, he began to experience the early stages of depression. He was confused why his outside life didn’t match his inside feelings. He didn’t feel justified in feeling depressed because his outside circumstances were all great.

Because he didn’t know depression was an illness that could affect anyone, Lucas hid his silent battle through high school and into college. He thought graduation, an internship, a job, would bring relief or happiness. He received a dream internship in New Mexico and thought it would be a turning point for positive change. Instead, isolated from his friends, family, and support, his depression became much worse.

During his last semester at college, his depression became so severe he lost the ability to eat. He reached out to his family, and they helped him find a doctor to start the recovery process. As he learned about his depression and saw the progress he made in recovery, he came to wish that he had known the truth about it back when the feelings started.

Inspired to help other teens having the same experience, Lucas chose to go and share his story with his high school in order to raise awareness and normalize the conversation. Now, Lucas speaks out about his battle with depression to let others know there is always hope, and that there is a wonderful life on the other side of depression.

Lucas is based in Princeton, NJ. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

 

Read what organizations have to say about Lucas:

“Lucas was absolutely fabulous. You could hear a pin drop in our gym as he held our students attention the whole time. His story was relatable for our student population and message was heard loud and clear.”  Point Pleasant Beach High School (NJ)

“Lucas’s message was very well received by our students. Some students told us that listening to him provided them with hope that they can get the help they need. Other students were appreciative of knowing about depression because they’re aware that other classmates have experienced it. One student suggested that we bring Lucas back again next year. All students who commented stated that hearing his personal story was very helpful.” Bryn Athyn Church School (PA)

“We were very fortunate to have Lucas visit Schor School yesterday and share his story with our students.  He is a wonderful young man and his presentation is both personal and powerful and quite inspirational!  We thank Lucas and Minding Your Mind for educating our community regarding mental health.” Theodore Schor Middle School (NJ)  

Andrew

Andrew had it all entering his senior year at Muhlenberg College. He was a starting defensive back for the football team, named captain of the track and field team, and already had a full-time position upon graduation with a large accounting firm in Philadelphia. However, an injury in the first game of the season and increasing pressure to perform caused drastic changes for him. Andrew lost his identity and began deeply struggling. His issues started with insomnia with trouble concentrating in class and on the field. This led him to spiral into a deep, lonely hole. Andrew hid his struggles from family and friends as he pretended that everything was fine, until he experienced suicidal ideations and reached a point where he desperately needed help. After a visit to the ER, he was diagnosed with major clinical depression and severe anxiety, which was extremely difficult for him to accept.

With a strong support group behind him, Andrew and his family began taking the needed steps toward recovery. He took medication for his depression and anxiety and began both psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. It was difficult at first, but over time Andrew began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. He turned to exercise and positive coping skills to work through his inner anger and pain. As his life started to gradually improve, Andrew shared his story in spring of 2014 with many of his teammates, classmates, and friends in the hopes that it would help someone else. The overwhelmingly positive feedback he received inspired him to continue talking about mental health. Andrew’s goal in working with Minding Your Mind is to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issue, and help others who may be suffering to know that they are not alone and that it gets better.

Andrew is based in Philadelphia, PA. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

 

Read what organizations have to say about Andrew:

“If you want to make a difference at your school, have Andrew Onimus come talk to your students and parents!” Haverford High School (PA)

“Our students had overwhelmingly positive feedback about the speakers (Andrew & Joey) and how their stories resonated with them and provided great information and hope about dealing with their own mental health.” Hingham High School (MA)

“Andrew was fantastic! He presented to all three grades individually and was able to make it age appropriate for each grade. The students were 100% engaged and I strongly feel he made a connection with our kids. This could be a game changer for our students as they learn how to cope and reach out for help if they suffer from mental health issues.” Winthrop High School (MA)

“Outstanding presentation, Andrew’s openness and honesty was exactly what we need modeled for our students and parents.” Municipality of Princeton – Mayor’s Task Force on Teen Stress and Mental Health (NJ)

“I told my colleagues about Andrew’s presentation – they all want him to come to their classrooms, as well. He was wonderful. My students felt they could really relate to him. I appreciate his honesty. Some said he was the best speaker they have had all year and they have had many. Thank you Andrew!” Crozer Chester Medical Center (PA)

“Andrew was the highlight of the conference. We were truly excited to have such a inspirational story of struggle and hope at our first Alabama Higher Education Suicide Prevention Conference.” Kanessa Doss, COE Director of Operations – Montgomery Campus/ Associate Professor, Psychology, of Troy University

Scott

Scott

As a teenager entering high school, Scott knew his life was going to change – everyone goes through changes in high school, right? What he did not expect was that the change would come in the form of depression.

After being cut from his high school basketball team, Scott began to feel worthless and spent his days mentally abusing himself. It was also around this time that Scott developed severe acne that made him extremely self-conscious about his image. Throughout college, Scott struggled to pull himself out of the self-hatred and negativity that filled his mind, but the issues only grew.

Scott was able to turn his world around by incorporating positivity into his life. It was difficult at first, trying to put small points and acts of positivity into every day. Sticking with these efforts, the more Scott implemented different strategies focused on changing his mindset, the more he began to see his life drastically change. Scott learned how to achieve self-security regardless of what life threw his way. By harnessing the power of positive self-talk, Scott realized that thoughts are just as important as actions.

Scott has a passion for helping others; his goal is to help people overcome the everyday mental obstacles that hold them back in life. His story is powerful, relatable, and relevant to students, and will give parents a window into what their children may be thinking and feeling about themselves. Scott works to inspire others to climb out of the darkness and find the light in their lives.

Scott is based in Philadelphia, PA. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

 

Read what organizations have to say about Scott:

“Scott’s presentation was organized, well prepared and flowed logically. It was a very good fit for Upper Dublin HS population. As a support counselor, he verbalized the same sentiments I hear from my students. I think this was validation that they are not alone in their feelings of self-loathing and to see that there can eventually have healing is life-changing.” Upper Dublin High School (PA)

“Scott was an incredible speaker and made quite the impression on the youth he presented to last week at CORA. We really appreciate the vulnerability, compassion, and hope he expressed during his presentation. I will absolutely be recommending him to speak to similar organizations and I hope we can have him back to CORA in the future.” CORA Services (PA)

“We cannot adequately express our gratitude to Scott for sharing his experiences with our students. He is a talented speaker who is very engaging and very relatable. Scott inspires a sense of hope for what can be as one works their way through depression.” Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School (PA)