We had the good fortune of connecting with Irene Yaymadjian, PsyD. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Irene, what can you share with us about how Covid-19 has affected your business?
Being the owner of a nonprofit organization is one of the hardest things one can do during a pandemic. It was very scary in the beginning when this first began, because most patients had lost their jobs and were not able to pay at all. Even though we are nonprofit we do rely on the fees that our patients were able to pay even if it was $10 a session. And not having even that really scared me and lead me to believe that HILLSIDE might not be able to strive or survive throughout the epidemic. But we didn’t let this stop us from helping as many people as we possibly could in the community. We made therapy free and helped over 100 patients And we continue to help more people as we go. We want to make sure that the community knows that we are there for them until the end. We had to allow ourselves to ask for help from outside sources as we developed a fundraiser to have the ones that were able to donate even if it was a dollar to help us stand on her feet to do the work that we do in our community, and that has helped a lot. Our entire team is so dedicated to the community and we will not let COVID stop us.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
At Hillside we are dedicated to helping everyone and anyone regardless of their financial situation. Most therapists focus only on the mind, at Hillside our therapy practice is focused on the mind, body and soul. We opened in 2017 and since then we have provided over 10,000 hours of mental health services to our community. Of that 7000 hours has gone to helping mothers who struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety and the remaining has gone to helping cancer patients and the general public. We are very excited how every year we are able to help more people get the help they need without being financially stressed to go to therapy. It was definitely not easy getting to where we are we started off in a two office building and we were able to expand within two years but only with the determination and constant Communication with our community so that people knew that there was help out there. Being a nonprofit is very hard especially these days especially when you don’t have a big budget to work from. To be honest faith, faith has been the one thing that has helped me overcome the challenges to help my center continue to run. One of the lessons that I had to learn along the way is to make sure that I’m taking care of myself and I’m not overworking myself because I can get caught up in working 24 hours a day if I could. I want the world to know that HILLSIDE WELLNESS CENTER is here for them to help them through their struggles, to support them through their journey in life, and to provide a safe space to help them grow and heal.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would start every single day with a fresh cup of Philz mint Mojito coffee. We would go straight to the beach, Malibu that is. We would have lunch on the beach watch the sunset and enjoy a nice glass of wine. I would also take them horseback riding, We would go winetasting, three or four of my favorite hiking trails which consists of Fryman Canyon, and the Malibu Hills. We would also be getting a massage at the Beverly Hilton hotel and in the week in Newport watching the whales and dolphins on a boat.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We want to give a shout out to our entire Sherman Oaks community and the Instagram followers that we have. Without all the Instagram shares and donations that we have gotten we would not be standing on her feet right now, and we are so thankful and grateful for everyone who has shared our posts and spread the word about free therapy and our fundraiser. A special thank you to our donors we are so grateful for your help we honestly could not do it without you.