2015 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health
One of the world’s most prominent mental health advocates, Rosalynn Carter is a powerful and relentless voice for transforming the views held about mental illness and the systems that treat it.
For over four decades she has battled the stigma associated with mental illnesses and addressed mental health issues that cry out for transformation.
As Honorary Chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health during President Carter’s administration, she played a critical role focusing attention on and strengthening many national programs in mental health and in the passage of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980. The Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy, which she initiated in 1985, brings together representatives of mental health organizations to collaborate on key issues. In 1991 the Carter Center’s Mental Health Task Force was established, chaired by Mrs. Carter and made up of an advisory body of experts capable of affecting public policy.
The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism were launched in 1996 to promote public awareness of mental health issues and to combat the stigma associated with mental illnesses.
In 2007, Mrs. Carter successfully lobbied Congress to pass legislation requiring parity in health insurance coverage for treatment of mental illnesses, testifying before a House subcommittee. The legislation ultimately passed and was signed into law in 2008.
Mrs. Carter’s most recent book (2010), Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis, issued a call to action for creating equity for mental illnesses in our health care system.
For her extraordinary accomplishments, for the depth of her compassion and the stunning power of her commitment to people suffering from the challenges of mental illness, we honor Rosalynn Carter.
—The Pardes Humanitarian Prize Committee