Remembering Rosalynn Carter: Advocate for Mental Health and Humanitarian Causes

Former First Lady's Legacy Lives On in Dedication to Caregiving, Peace, and Mental Health Reform

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Former First Lady’s Legacy Lives On in Dedication to Caregiving, Peace, and Mental Health Reform

The Carter Center announces with deep sadness the passing of Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady and unwavering advocate for mental health reform, on Sunday at the age of 96. Rosalynn Carter peacefully departed surrounded by family at her home in Plains, Georgia, following a battle with dementia.

Rosalynn, alongside her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, redefined the role of the first lady, serving as an equal partner in their pursuit of world peace, human rights, and healthcare through The Carter Center. President Carter expressed, “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished. She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it.” Known for her efforts to destigmatize mental health and promote access to treatment, Rosalynn Carter’s impact extended beyond her years in the White House.

The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, established at her alma mater, Georgia Southwestern State University, stands as a testament to her dedication to supporting families and caregivers facing disabilities and illnesses. Ceremonies honoring Rosalynn Carter’s life are scheduled for the coming week, allowing the public to pay their respects as she lies in repose at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

A private funeral service for family and friends will follow at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. Political leaders and figures from across the spectrum paid tribute to Rosalynn Carter’s legacy. First Lady Jill Biden highlighted her contributions to mental health and caregiving, while President Joe Biden commended the Carter family for bringing “grace to the office.

Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush praised Rosalynn Carter’s dignity and strength, acknowledging her impact in destigmatizing mental health. Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter’s post-presidential endeavors, including international travels to areas in need and contributions to global health, were recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999.

President Bill Clinton hailed them as a couple who had “done more good things for more people in more places than any other couple on Earth.” The Carter Center extends its condolences to the Carter family during this difficult time.