Former first lady Rosalynn Carter receives award during mental health forum

ATLANTA — Former first lady Rosalynn Carter received an award during the 23rd annual Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum Friday morning.

The former first lady is the chair of the Carter Center mental health task force.

The Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum, established in 1995, is held each May to address timely mental health policy issues facing the state.

This year, the forum included a special award presentation to Carter, a mental health advocate for more than 45 years.

Carter, 90, is not slowing down. In fact, she's speeding up on what has become her lifelong mission, improving mental health issues in Georgia and globally.

"I have worked on mental health for 47 years, and I plan to make it to 50," Carter said.


Service providers, policymakers, advocates, media and consumers of mental health services in Georgia participated in discussions on diverse topics during the forum.

"She has made it OK to talk stigmas, issues of mental illnesses as it affects children adults in Georgia and globally," said Lorrie Lynn King, a master of public health.

Carter was honored twice for her work.

Dr. Antonio Puente, president of the American Psychological Association, presented Carter with a Presidential Citation, an annual tradition that recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of psychology.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control also recognized her for decades of service.

"I'm honored to receive this recognition from this wonderful organization," Carter said.

"Because of her, I think, championed children's mental health at the CDC," said Coleen Boyle, director for national center for birth defects and developmental disabilities at the CDC."

For the past six years, the Georgia Forum also has provided an opportunity to update local stakeholders on the 2010 settlement agreement and the 2015 settlement agreement extension between the U.S. Department of Justice and the state of Georgia.

In addition, the forum hosted a panel focused on a Children in Need of Services pilot program.