Remembering Rosalynn Carter

Rosalynn Carter testifies on behalf of the President’s Commission on Mental Health before the Senate Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources on February 7, 1979. She was the second first lady to appear before Congress. (Jimmy Carter Library)

Rosalynn Carter, wife of former president Jimmy Carter, lifelong mental health advocate and co-founder of the Atlanta-based Carter Center, died at age 96 at her home in Plains, Ga. on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023.

Carter was a trailblazer in leading more than five decades of national advocacy for mental health awareness, destigmatization and policy reform –– a cause she picked up as the first lady of Georgia, carried on as first lady of the United States and continued championing as a private citizen through her work at The Carter Center. 

“There should be no distinction between mental illnesses and other illnesses. They’re all part of the body.”

Rosalynn Carter on mental health stigma in 2005.

“And I knew that when my husband was elected governor that I had to have something more to do than to pour tea. I did not intend to spend my time in the governor’s mansion in that way.”

Rosalynn Carter