“Follow your passion. Don't ever forget to take care of yourself. That's critically important. I think as women, we don't always do that very well.”
That’s the advice of Deborah Blalock, one of the state’s leading mental health administrators and advocates. She was the first woman appointed as deputy director of Community Mental Health Services at the S.C. Department of Mental Health (SCDMH). She is responsible for statewide outpatient services provided by SCDMH, including those provided by 16 mental health centers. Earlier, she served as executive director of the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center for 14 years. She expanded use of a mobile unit that would become a model program for the state. During her tenure at the Charleston Mental Health Center, the community faced immense tragedy when nine lives were lost at the Mother Emanuel shooting. Responding with mental health services after that incident, “was probably the most profound experience of my career,” she said. Blalock lives in James Island and Columbia.