Eleanor Rosalynn Smith Carter, First Lady of the United States from 1977-1981, significantly raised public awareness of mental health issues by serving as honorary chair of the Presidential Commission on Mental Health. The work of the Commission led to the passage of the Mental Health System Act of 1980.
Her founding and work on the “Every Child by Two” initiative saved thousands of children’s lives through immunization and spearheaded further public health immunization initiatives worldwide.
Carter demonstrated a life-long dedication to the concerns of women and children, the poor, and the mentally ill. Her active presence and policy expertise contributed to the Policy Advisory Board of the Atlanta Project, the Last Acts coalition to improve end-of-life care, Habitat for Humanity, Project Interconnections (which provides housing for the homeless and mentally ill), and the Friendship Force.
Her books have aided thousands of people seeking assistance and guidance regarding mental health issues, caregiving, and creating new paths in life. She is the recipient of numerous honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.