Waging Peace.
Fighting Disease.
Building Hope.

The 30th Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium
on Mental
Health Policy

Celebrating the Past & Shaping the Future

Nov. 20-21, 2014

An archive video of the webcast will be posted here soon. Please check back.

View the webcast agenda (PDF) >


Thirty years ago, when former first lady Rosalynn Carter held the original symposium in 1985, it was the first annual meeting that focused on mental health policy. At that time, other national conferences addressed scientific advances or professional concerns, but Mrs. Carter knew from her experience as first lady and as honorary chair of the President's Commission on Mental Health that policy change was necessary to create and sustain long-term improvements in the care provided to people living with mental illnesses.

The goal of this year's symposium is to celebrate the achievements of the behavioral health field over the past 30 years, including the impact of the symposium itself, as we look ahead to the future of U.S. mental health and substance abuse policy.

The symposium will cover three main topics:

  • building healthy communities
  • achieving integrated services
  • developing leaders for tomorrow

The subject of this year's symposium will be of interest to a wide variety of mental health and addiction advocates, as well as to non-traditional partners. The Mental Health Program expects to attract a diverse audience, including members of the behavioral health advocacy community, insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies, caregivers, consumers, and policymakers from federal and state agencies.


History of the symposium
In 1985, former first lady Rosalynn Carter initiated the annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy to bring together national leaders in mental health to focus and coordinate their efforts on an issue of common concern.

The symposia have been a unique opportunity each year for this leadership to hear remarks from a variety of individuals with expertise on a selected topic; discuss diverse viewpoints in an open forum; identify areas of consensus and potential collaborations as well as points of divergence; and to recommend action steps for symposium participants to move an agenda forward.

Held each November, the symposia have examined such issues as mental illness and the elderly, child and adolescent illness, family coping, financing mental health services and research, treating mental illness in the primary care setting, and stigma and mental illness.

In addition to the symposium, the Mental Health Program hosts another annual meeting to tackle pressing issues in mental health policy, the Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum, held each May since 1995 for state mental health organizations.

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