Mental Health Activist & Former US First Lady, Rosalynn Carter Died at the Age of 96

Former US First Lady, Rosalynn Carter

Prominent mental health activist and former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter passed away on Sunday at the age of 96. She gained recognition for professionalising the job of the spouse of the US president and for her successful efforts in mental health reform. Jimmy Carter, the former US president and spouse of Rosalynn, claimed in a statement that “his wife was an equal collaborator in all his accomplishments and she offered him great advice and support.” He said, “I always knew someone was there for me as long as Rosalynn was in the world.”

Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady, has reportedly entered hospice care at her Plains, Georgia, home. “She and (former) President Carter have been spending time with one another and their loved ones,” stated their grandson Jason Carter in a statement. The Carter family is still appreciative of the love and support they have received, but they still request privacy.

The 96-year-old first lady’s dementia diagnosis was revealed by the Centre on May 30, 2023. Following several brief hospital stays, the 99-year-old former president Jimmy Carter started receiving home hospice care in February.

Carter’s the Power Couple:

Rosalynn Carter was a prominent and powerful player in the White House during her husband’s administration from 1977 to 1981. She was instrumental in helping to rebuild the public’s confidence in the president following the Watergate affair. Notably, the Carters celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary in July of this year, making them the longest-married US presidential couple. Rosalynn was a well-known mental health and humanitarian activist.

During Jimmy Carter’s post-presidency, she established the Atlanta’s Carter Centre to promote global health and peace. Established by President and Mrs. Carter in 1982, the centre’s mission is to enhance people’s lives both domestically and abroad by implementing peace and health initiatives. The power couple visited popular destinations all over the world, such as North Korea, Cuba, and Sudan, to oversee elections and carry out efforts to end Guinea worm sickness and other undertreated tropical illnesses. In 2002, Jimmy Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Rosalynn’s Major Contributions in the Field of Mental Health:

Throughout her career in public service, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has been a leading figure in the field of mental health. During her husband’s tenure as Georgia’s governor, she served on the Governor’s Commission to Improve Services to the Mentally and Emotionally Disabled. She aided in the passing of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980 while serving as the President’s Commission on Mental Health’s active honorary chair during President Carter’s administration.

She founded the Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy in 1985 intending to unite leaders of mental health organisations around the country to concentrate and coordinate their efforts on important topics that examined a range of subjects, including stigma and mental illnesses, mental illnesses and the older people, illnesses in children and adolescents, family coping, funding mental health services and research, and treating mental disorders in primary care settings. In 1996, she initiated the yearly Georgia Mental Health Forum for experts and consumers around the state, in response to the need for local cooperation. The yearly forums have concentrated on creating workable solutions to assist Georgia in creating a more robust mental health care system.

Mental Health and Caregivers’ Well-being

Outside of the Centre, Mrs. Carter served as president of the board of directors of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Carers (RCI) until her retirement. The RCI was founded in 1987 on the Georgia Southwestern Stae University campus in Americus, Georgia, and was named in her honour. The RCI works to improve the mental health and overall well-being of family carers by conducting research, managing strategic initiatives and projects, creating and executing evidence-based programmes, lobbying for public policy, and forming cross-sector alliances.

The 2018 Bill Foege Global Health Award, the National Mental Health Association’s Volunteer of the Decade Award, the Mental Illness Foundation’s Dorothea Dix Award, the International Committee Against Mental Illnesses, Nathan S. Kline Medal of Merit, the Institute of Medicine’s Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health, the United States Surgeon General’s Medallion, induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the nation’s highest civilian honour—have all been given to Mrs. Carter in recognition of her support for mental health causes. She is an American Psychiatric Association Honorary Fellow.

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