Nov 27, 2023

Amidst sorrow and loss reflected in world events, MAMH President & CEO Danna Mauch finds gratitude and hope in celebrating Rosalynn Carter's life of service.

Like many of you, I have felt at times overwhelmed by the grief and sorrow that has surrounded us the last few months. Violence in the Middle East, senseless shootings in Maine and Vermont, and new reports on the continued effects of COVID isolation on young people cast a shadow as we enter into the season of giving thanks.

In the midst of this sadness, I was disheartened to learn of the death of Rosalynn Carter on Nov. 19, as she stands as a beacon of inclusivity in her life and her work on behalf of so many disenfranchised people. The former First Lady was an extraordinary woman whose commitment to mental health was revolutionary in its time. Her crafting of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980, stood as the most progressive, comprehensive federal legislation supporting community mental health care for the country. Although it was eviscerated by the next Administration, Mrs. Carter was determined to fight on through the Carter Center, which she co-founded with former President Jimmy Carter in 1982.

I have learned, though, that grief, gratitude, and hope co-exist. I am grateful to have known Mrs. Carter and to have worked with her through the Carter Center's Mental Health Program. From this perch, Mrs. Carter helped lead an international effort to strengthen policy, reduce stigma and discrimination, and improve public understanding of mental health and substance use conditions. This legacy continues through dozens of journalists who strengthened their understanding of mental health conditions as Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellows, as well as ongoing work to promote mental health parity and access to services.

I'm especially inspired by and grateful for Mrs. Carter's example of leadership rooted not in power but in values of compassion and empathy. In her quiet and unassuming way, Mrs. Carter persistently took action to advance understanding about mental health and well being and to reform mental health care in America. Her legacy is one of service, which provides hope and guidance for all of us who aspire to a life well-lived.

“Rosalynn Carter's legacy is one of service, which provides hope and guidance for all of us who aspire to a life well-lived.”
Danna Mauch, MAMH President & CEO

This holiday season, I welcome you to join me in reflecting on the unique gifts you hold and the many ways you can share your abundance. A few examples:

Check in on a friend or neighbor who may be alone. A simple call or visit shows you care that they are part of your life.

Volunteer to make a difference. If you're not sure where to start, subscribe here to receive our Action Alerts and use your voice to support mental health.

Be kind to yourself. Holidays can be joyful, but can also be stressful and sad. Whatever your experience, you are not alone in your feelings.

Rosalynn Carter's legacy inspires us to service and compassion, even in the face of sorrow. I am grateful for her example and hopeful that it can lead the way to mental wellness, healing, and peace.

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