Rosalynn Carter receives WHO award for mental health campaigns

Former US first lady says she hopes mental wellbeing will become a global priority

Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter speak at the Carter Centre in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael A Schwarz
Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter speak at the Carter Centre in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael A Schwarz

Former US first lady Rosalynn Carter was honoured by the World Health Organisation on Monday for her contributions to mental health.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus presented the wife of former president Jimmy Carter and three others with the Award for Global Health at the opening of the 74th World Health Assembly.

In a recorded video, her grandson Jason J Carter read a letter from the former first lady in which she thanked the WHO for the honour and said she hoped that mental health would become a global priority.

"The director-general’s Award for Global Health is especially meaningful to me in light of the Carter Centre’s long partnership with WHO to ... promote the inclusion of mental health as an integral part of overall wellbeing," Ms Carter's letter said.

"My hope is that this is the moment when all nations will make behavioural health a priority and create quality systems of care that are equitably delivered. I’ve been waiting a long time to see this happen."

Ms Carter, 93, has been a driving force in the field of mental health throughout her public service career, according to the Atlanta, Georgia-based Carter Centre.

In the last 50 years, she has founded several mental health-focused initiatives, such as the Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy, the Georgia Mental Health Forum and the Carter Centre Mental Health Task Force.

Updated: May 24, 2021 09:41 PM

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