We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Irene Yaymadjian and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dr. Irene, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Hillside Wellness Center is a little gem in Sherman Oaks. We help everyone and anyone who is in need of mental health services. We never turn anyone away for not being able to pay. We strive to reduce the stigma of therapy and mental health and truly help people heal their wounds to better the quality of their life, without being stressed out about how much therapy is going to cost.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Growing up there wasn’t one specific thing that I wanted to do. I remember every time someone would ask me the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up? “I would look at them and say “I don’t know, something fun! “ I had never met a therapist or psychologist when I was a kid. So I didn’t really know that career even existed. Until I became fascinated with the human brain. Throughout my schooling I realized how much mental health was needed, however sadly there was a stigma behind it which prevented many people from getting the help that they need due to the shame that was attached to it. In grad school I wanted to make a difference in the WORLD, but I realized that was impossible so I began in my own community. I dedicated half of my doctorate program in developing a nonprofit center in my community that would allow me to help as many people as I possibly could. Getting a doctorate, becoming licensed, developing my nonprofit center, and running my own private practice in addition to teaching as a professor was definitely some thing that taught me that I could achieve anything as long as I set my mind to it. Ultimately my biggest goal was to develop a community center that would allow individuals to become a better version of themself without the fear of the stigma that came along with it.

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?
I grew up in Los Angeles so for me going to the beach is a regular thing. When my friends come down here from other states or countries they always seem to be so fascinated with how this is our every day life. One of my favorite things to do is to grab a coffee and people watch, enjoying a nice cup of coffee it’s truly one of the most healing thing I feel like one can do on this earth. There are so many amazing places to eat in Los Angeles one of my all-time favorite place is carousel restaurant in Glendale. My favorite food is Armenian food, of course…. But of course I can never say no to Thai food, or tacos, or pizza, or pasta. Honestly the list can go on, I love enjoying food with good company.

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?
First and foremost, I want to give a big thank you to my mother. She has always stood by my side and supported me no matter how crazy my ideas were. Without my mother I honestly would not be the woman I am today.

Second, I want to thank God. I want to thank God for always watching over me and making sure that I am protected and giving me the strength to help make my community a better place.

Website: www.hillsidewellnesscenter.org

Email: drirene@hillsidewellnesscenter.org

Instagram: @Drireneyay and @hillside_wellness

Yelp: Hillside Wellness Center

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.