On the Passing of a Steadfast Partner and Advocate for Mental Health


Rosalynn Carter, a woman of unwavering strength, compassion, and incredible dedication to public service, passed away peacefully at her home in Plains, Georgia, on November 19, 2023, at the age of 96. Born Eleanor Rosalynn Smith on August 18, 1927, she grew up in the small town of Plains, surrounded by the values of hard work, family, and community. These values would shape her life and guide her throughout her extraordinary journey.

Rosalynn’s life took a pivotal turn when she met Jimmy Carter, a young naval officer, at a church youth group. They married in 1946, and their lifelong partnership would become the foundation for a remarkable career in public service. As Jimmy’s political ambitions grew, Rosalynn stood by his side, offering unwavering support and wise counsel. She was not merely a political wife; she was an active participant in his campaigns and a trusted advisor.

Championing Mental Health Awareness

When Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States in 1976, Rosalynn stepped into the role of First Lady with a unique approach. She broke away from traditional expectations, defining the position as a platform for advocacy and social change. One of her most notable contributions was her advocacy for mental health awareness. At a time when mental illness was still stigmatized, Rosalynn bravely spoke out, sharing her own experiences with mental health challenges and using her platform to advocate for better treatment and support for those struggling with mental disorders.

Her efforts led to the establishment of the President’s Commission on Mental Health, which produced a groundbreaking report that helped to reshape the national conversation about mental illness. Rosalynn’s advocacy extended beyond the White House, as she continued to champion mental health causes throughout her life. She co-founded the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Center in Georgia and served as a board member for numerous mental health organizations.

A Legacy of Humanitarian Work

Rosalynn Carter’s commitment to public service extended far beyond mental health advocacy. She was a tireless advocate for human rights, working to alleviate poverty, hunger, and disease around the world. She traveled extensively with her husband, serving as a goodwill ambassador and promoting peace and understanding.

In 1982, the Carters established the Carter Center in Atlanta, a non-profit organization dedicated to conflict resolution, human rights, and global health. Through the center, Rosalynn continued her humanitarian work, leading initiatives to combat poverty, promote democracy, and improve access to healthcare in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

A Life of Inspiration

Rosalynn Carter’s life was a testament to the power of compassion, determination, and unwavering commitment to making a difference in the world. She was a true partner to her husband, a champion for the marginalized, and a tireless advocate for human rights. Her legacy lives on in the countless lives she touched and the positive impact she had on the world.

Rosalynn Carter will be remembered as a woman of remarkable strength, compassion, and dedication to public service. She was a pioneer for mental health awareness, a tireless advocate for human rights, and a true humanitarian. Her legacy will continue to inspire generations to come to live with purpose, compassion, and a commitment to making the world a better place.

Mrs. Carter suffered from dementia.



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