STEP Therapy Staff for Wake and Orange County Locations


Wake County

Darren L. Debo, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Instructor/Therapist

Mr. Debo joined the Wake STEP Clinic in November 2015 as a clinical instructor/therapist.He received his master’s degree in social work from Florida international University in Miami and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.  Since moving to North Carolina in 2007, he has worked as a clinical administrator at Dorothea Dix Hospital and a clinician at Wake County Human Services Outpatient Behavioral Health.  Most recently, he served as the clinical operations director for Monarch in Wake County. His direct practice experience includes working with children, adolescents, adults, couples and geriatric populations.  He has experience working with severe and persistent mental illness, individuals affected by domestic violence, forensics, inpatient psychiatric settings in South Florida, Washington D.C., New York City, and as an adjunct professor at Florida International University in Miami.


Deborah Lawson

Deborah Lawson, MSW, LCSW, LMFT
Clinical Instructor, Social Worker/Therapist

Ms. Lawson is a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed marriage and family therapist.  She provides individual, couple, group, and family therapy to clients with severe and persistent mental illness as well as those with co-occurring substance abuse disorders and/or developmental disabilities. Her clinical interests include treatment of SPMI, CBT, WRAP, Solution Focused Therapy, and using family therapy to incorporate friends or family members into treatment.  She believes in the value of education, incorporating self-advocacy, and building supportive relationships so those with mental illness can achieve stable, enjoyable, and productive lives.


Shannon Wallace

Shannon Wallace, LCSW, LCAS
Interim Director, Clinical Services
Social Worker/Therapist

Ms. Wallace, a licensed clinical social worker and clinical addictions specialists, is located at the UNC STEP Community Clinic in Wake County. She also works at two of its regional locations, Western in Raleigh and Eastern in Zebulon. Her clinical responsibilities include individual therapy and case management for adults diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) and co-occurring substance abuse disorders. Her clinical interests include the treatment of SPMI and co-occurring substance abuse disorders (individual and group therapy), minimizing the impact of substance abuse/dependence on the individual and family system and treatment of those with a criminal background. Treatment modalities are based on the needs of the individual and often combine evidence-based models such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Enhancement, Solution-Focused Therapy and Harm Reduction.


Chapel Hill/Carboro     Orange County – Carr Mill Mall Location

Information about Therapy Groups


Jennifer Niles October 2016Jennifer Niles, MSW, LCSW, LCAS
Clinical Instructor/Social Worker/Therapist

Ms. Niles is a licensed clinical social worker and clinical addictions specialist. She is an outpatient therapist in the UNC STEP Clinic in Carrboro who works with people with mental health and substance use disorders. Her clinical interests include motivational interviewing, integrated care, and harm reduction. Her experience includes working with pregnant or parenting women, people with HIV, people who are homeless, and professional people who have mental health and substance use disorders. She received a BA and BSW  from UNC-Charlotte and her masters in social work from UNC-Chapel Hill. 



Jenny Tilford  Jenny Tilford, MSSW, LCSW
Clinical Instructor/Social Worker/Therapist

Ms. Tilford joined the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health in April 2016 as a clinical instructor/therapist in the UNC STEP (Schizophrenia Treatment and Evaluation Program) Clinic at Carr Mill.  Since moving to North Carolina in 2001, she has worked as a sentencing specialist in the Orange/Chatham court system, in community mental as a clinician, as a psychotherapist in private practice, and as a clinical assessor and outpatient therapist at Easter Seals UCP prior to joining UNC. She provides outpatient psychotherapy services in the Carr Mill Community Clinic.  She has an MSSW with a concentration in clinical social work and is a licensed clinical social worker. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from University of Tennessee.



Melike WarrickMelike Warrick, LCSW, LCAS
Ms. Warrick is an outpatient therapist at the Center. She is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed clinical addictions specialist. She also completed intensive training in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) and has experience providing individual and group DBT therapy.Ms. Warrick has extensive experience in in-home and community- based care for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and dual disorders (co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse) from working on both the ACT Team and Community Support Team. She completed her social work internship at the STEP Clinic and is trained in Motivational Interviewing and Illness Management and Recovery (IMR).



Jason Wesson  October 2016Jason Wesson, MSW, LCSW, LCAS
Clinical Director, STEP Clinic

Mr. Wesson is the clinical director (January 2016) of the STEP clinic at Carr Mill. He joined the Center in July 2014 as a clinician. He brings 17 years of experience in mental health as a rehabilitation technician, clinical case manager, clinical supervisor, assistant program manager, and area director. He is focused on improving patient outcomes and quality of care for individuals living with a serious mental illness.His direct practice experience includes working with children, families, young and older adults, and couples. He is a clinical social worker and a licensed clinical addictions specialist.Wesson received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Appalachian State University and a master’s  degree in social work from East Carolina University.