Deputy Director, Community Mental Health Services
at S.C. Department of Mental Health
“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 the 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 became 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.
About the Honoree
Deborah Shogry Blalock became employed by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) in 1993. Mrs. Blalock, the SCDMH Deputy Director, Community Mental Health Services, was appointed deputy in January of 2018. In her current role, she is responsible for statewide outpatient services provided by SCDMH, to include those provided by all 16 mental health centers. Prior to that appointment, Mrs. Blalock served as the executive director of the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center for 14 years. Before becoming the executive director, Debbie was the center’s director of acute services – those services that directly focused on people in crisis such as a mobile crisis team, South Carolina’s first mental health court, a crisis stabilization center, and services in the local detention centers. Mrs. Blalock has extensive training in crisis negotiation, crisis intervention, and critical incident management. She received her M.Ed. in clinical counseling from the Citadel in 1993. Debbie is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and a Certified Public Manager. Debbie and her husband Mark have five children and 2 grandchildren.
About Women Vision SC
Women Vision SC is a program that focuses on issues affecting women throughout the state and the nation and a new generation of young people pursuing public service for their communities and the state at large. The program is produced and hosted by former SCETV president Linda O’Bryon.