Medical Professional of the Month: Gabriela Sehinkman

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    Gabriela Sehinkman, PhD, LISW-S, TeleAyuda Ohio

    Gabriela Sehinkman is the co-founder of TeleAyuda Ohio, a mental health practice that services the Hispanic/Latino community. With over 25 years of experience, Sehinkman has practiced in Latin America and the United States. She has a master’s degree in psychology and social work, and a doctorate in social welfare. She has dedicated her career to providing mental health services to children, teens, individuals, couples, and families.

    “I have always been marveled by how people overcome adversity and by how the mind works. I feel humbled by people’s trust in me as a professional and have enjoyed together with my clients every positive step towards their goals,” says Sehinkman.

    At TeleAyuda, Sehinkman and her co-founder, María Rosa Torres, also provide education and training to students and young professionals. They also teach graduate-level courses.

    About TeleAyuda Ohio

    “TeleAyuda has been a long-term dream,” says Sehinkman  “We know there is a shortage of professionals who are bicultural and bilingual to serve the mental health needs of the Hispanic/Latino community.”

    The dream of TeleAyuda stemmed from a gap that Sehinkman and Torres were seeing. They say there are entire parts of Ohio where you can’t find mental health treatment in Spanish for hundreds of miles, leaving those in need of help with nowhere to go. They say the struggle doesn’t end there.

    “We also know that people struggle to make it to an office to see a professional due to challenging work schedules, not having reliable transportation or childcare.”

    TeleAyuda is the only teletherapy service in Ohio delivered entirely in Spanish and designed for Latinos by Latinos. They accept patients that are 16 years of age or older. Incorporating culture into their treatment is a large focus for TeleAyuda.

    “Culture is defined as the behaviors, values, and beliefs that are shared by a group of People,” Sehinkman says.  “Our culture, whether we know it or not, influences our customs, habits, relationships, language, spirituality, gender expectations, laws, etc. When you seek mental health help, you need to feel understood and respected for who you are, not judged negatively for “being different.” Therefore, it becomes central for mental health services to attend to these subtle differences that make Latino culture unique, to take them into account when trying to understand the problems that a client brings to therapy and when trying to offer solutions to those problems. We can’t understand mental health outside of a person’s culture.”

    TeleAyuda mainly offers remote services via telehealth. They also have a physical location in Beachwood, Ohio to service clients that prefer in-person counseling.

    TeleAyuda Ohio During COVID-19

    While TeleAyuda primarily offers remote services, they are taking extra precautions for those that do choose to come to their physical office. Their building is deep cleaning the facility regularly. In the TeleAyuda suite, they are taking it a step further, sanitizing spaces before and after seeing clients. They also require masks in all common areas, and offer a touchless check-in to patients.

    They noticed an increased demand for mental health services at the beginning of the pandemic. Sehinkman says that clients have been trying to make sense of the uncertainty of the times. While people are adjusting to this “new normal” the demand has stayed consistent.

    “We are seeing more anxiety-related problems that are intensified by the current pandemic. Increased anxiety is affecting both our individual clients as well as couples who are spending more time together than ever before.”

    How and When to Get Help

    Sehinkman says that those struggling should seek help as soon as persistent changes in mood, behaviour, relationships and sleep become relevant.

    “Mental health is part of our overall health, and treatment works. You can save yourself months or years of suffering by seeking help from a trained professional.”

    While she maintains that getting help earlier is best, she also says it is never too late to seek help.

    “The present moment is as good as any other moment. The most important thing is to take that first step to restore your emotional wellbeing.”

    To learn more about Gabriela Sehinkman, PhD, LISW-S and TeleAyuda Ohio, visit their website

    Mental Health and Disability

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