Eleanor Rosalynn Carter: First Lady and Leader

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”

– Rosalynn Carter

Eleanor Rosalynn Carter is the wife of the 39th President, Jimmy Carter. She served as the First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981.

She has been a leading voice for many causes. Primarily for mental health research. She sat in on Cabinet and policy meetings, her husband’s closest adviser. She also served as an envoy in Latin America.During her husband’s administration, Rosalynn supported her husband’s public policies.  The idea for her to be in attendance came from her husband’s suggestion after she started to question him about a news story.

“For every person who needs mental health care to be able to receive it close to his home, and to remove the stigma from mental health care so people will be free to talk about it and seek help. It’s been taboo for so long to admit you had a mental health problem.”

Rosalynn Carter sat as an active honorary chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health. She testified before a Senate committee, the second First Lady to appear before the Congress (the first being Eleanor Roosevelt). The purpose? To speak on behalf of the Mental Health System Bill, enacted in 1980, of her priorities, mental health was the highest. Working to change the nature of government assistance to the mentally ill, Carter wanted to allow people to be comfortable admitting their disabilities without fear of being called crazy.