Last month, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, vice chair of
the Carter Center, was inducted into the National Women’s
Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y.
“I am privileged to be included with such a prestigious group
of women and honored by this recognition,” Carter said. “I
will continue to do all I can to help those in need.”
Widely recognized for her advocacy work on mental health issues
over the last 30 years, Carter has galvanized key partnerships in
the campaign to eliminate stigma against those with mental illness,
to achieve parity in mental health insurance coverage, and to screen
youth early for mental and behavioral disorders.
“Her lifelong work on behalf of women, children and the mentally
ill is a living testament to her vision and character,” said
Marilyn Bero, president of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
“In this day and age, Mrs. Carter’s ongoing dedication
to making our country a better place for all is indeed a great and
A full partner with her husband, former President Jimmy Carter,
in all of the Carter Center’s activities, the former first
lady also founded and chairs the center’s Mental Health Task
Force, an advisory body that promotes positive change in the mental
health field. She also heads the center’s Mental Health Program
which, under her leadership, plays an important role in calling
attention nationally and globally to critical mental health issues.
And she has spearheaded the annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on
Mental Health Policy.
In addition, she has chaired the World Federation for Mental Health’s
International Committee of Women Leaders for Mental Health since
its establishment. As first lady, Carter served as honorary chair
of the President’s Commission on Mental Health. The year-long
commission assessed the current system and made recommendations
for new legislation by undertaking a series of public hearings across
the country. The result was that, in September 1980, Congress passed
the Mental Health Systems Act.
A mother of four, Carter has maintained a lifelong dedication to
issues affecting women and children. In 1991 along with Betty Bumpers,
wife of former U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers of Arkansas, Carter helped
launch “Every Child By Two,” a nationwide campaign to
publicize the need for early childhood immunizations.
Carter has received many honors in the health and mental health
fields and is the author of four books: First Lady from Plains,
Everything to Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life,
Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book for Caregivers, and
Helping Someone With Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for
Family, Friends, and Caregivers.
Carter is only the third first lady ever inducted into the Hall
of Fame, joining Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt. Other living
inductees this year included Althea Gibson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
Barbara Holdridge and Emily Howell Warner. Lucille Ball, Katharine
Graham and Mercy Otis Warren were among those inducted posthumously.