VICTORIA C. COUSINS

Posted Sept. 25, 2008, at 11:17 p.m.

COLUMBIA, S.C. and BANGOR – Victoria C. Cousins died June 28, 2005, at a local hospital in Columbia, S.C., after a brief illness. She had been a resident of Columbia since 1985. Vicki was born Feb. 25, 1957, in Bangor the daughter of Harriette (Daw) and Howard C. Cousins Jr. She attended local schools, graduating from Bangor High School and Bowdoin College, where she received her bachelor of arts degree in English. She was an advertising executive and associate publisher of the St. Louis and American City Business journals in St. Louis, Mo., for 11 years. At the time of her death she was director of the Office of Consumer Affairs for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health in Columbia. She was a mental health consumer herself and provided a consumer’s perspective in planning and policy-making. As the department’s first consumer affairs director, she worked to overcome stigma in the mental health system and give hope to families, staff and consumers that people can recover from major mental illness. Vicki was active nationally in federal level policy-making initiatives and research. She was also active in several national mental health organizations. She was co-founder and co-chair of the South Carolina Health Department’s Trauma Initiative Task Force and co-director of the Palmetto Pride Recovery Leadership Retreat. She was also founder of the department’s Consumer-to-Consumer Eval-uation Team, so that mental health service recipients could evaluate programs, bringing new attention in the system to consumer perceptions of mental health services. Vicki is survived by her mother, Harriette, of Columbia, S.C.; brother, Douglas D. Cousins of Brewer; one uncle, Robert Richter of North Carolina; and a cousin, Nathaniel Crosby. A celebrations of Vicki’s life will be held 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor, with the Rev. Carol J. Sherman officiating. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments at the Brookings-Smith Family Center, 163 Center St., following the celebration Wednesday. Gifts in her memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

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