Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter passes away at 96, leaving a legacy of mental health advocacy

Rosalynn Carter

20th November 2023 – (Washington) Rosalynn Carter, the beloved wife of the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, peacefully passed away on Sunday at her residence in Plains, Georgia. She was 96 years old. The Carter Center, a non-governmental organisation established by the couple, confirmed her passing, stating that she was surrounded by her family during her final moments.

Jimmy Carter, now 99 years old, expressed his deep sorrow and paid tribute to his late wife, emphasizing the profound impact she had on his life. “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” he stated, highlighting the significant role she played in his personal and political journey.

While Rosalynn Carter’s contributions to society were extensive, her lasting individual legacy lies in her tireless efforts to combat the stigma surrounding mental illness and her unwavering advocacy for parity and access to mental health treatment. U.S. media reports have acknowledged her instrumental role in raising awareness and promoting understanding of mental health issues.

Throughout her time as First Lady from 1977 to 1981, Rosalynn Carter used her platform to shed light on the struggles faced by individuals with mental illnesses. She sought to dispel misconceptions and challenge societal attitudes that often marginalized and misunderstood those affected. By openly discussing mental health and sharing personal stories, she played a pivotal role in breaking down barriers and encouraging a more compassionate and inclusive approach to mental health care.

Rosalynn Carter’s dedication to mental health extended beyond her time in the White House. Following her departure from the role of First Lady, she continued to champion the cause, establishing the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving in 1987. The institute focuses on supporting caregivers who provide care for individuals with mental illnesses, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic conditions. Through research, education, and advocacy, the institute strives to enhance the well-being of caregivers and improve the quality of care for those in need.

Her exceptional commitment to mental health advocacy earned her numerous accolades and recognition. In 2000, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the United States, in recognition of her significant contributions to society.