Rosalynn Carter once ambushed her husband at a gubernatorial campaign event, demanding he do something about mental-health issues. She's still at it 39 years later, as she told Jon Stewart last night, despite frustration at the pace of change.


A seemingly frail Carter showed plenty of steel in talking about how our society has undergone a "reinstitutionalization" — moving people with mental health problems out of asylums and into prisons. "You can get money for prisons, you can't get money for mental health," she said, adding that she was frustrated about it.

"You seem actually like you're about to get violent. I just want to say that there are children watching and I don't want to have to restrain you," said Stewart.


But in reality, it was another lovefest. Carter told Stewart, "You say good things." In return, he said to her, "You are full of goodness."

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Thanks for this post. I work at a residential home for people with severe mental illness. Almost all of my patients are men who have nowhere else to go. The majority of them have schizophrenia. Some of them have been to prison several times because they have no way of receiving treatment on their own and end up getting locked up. In Illinois, where I live, the mental health services budget was nearly cut in half last year. Homes like the place I work are getting closed left and right, putting all of the patients right back on the street. The lucky ones get other placements, the unlucky ones end up homeless, self-medicating with whatever they can get their hands on. Oftentimes families aren't entirely supportive either, they have a tendency to blame the mental illness on too much drug use. It's a really sad state of affairs in Illinois right now. You can tell a lot about your government by how they treat those most at need. (Sidenote: people with Master's degrees who are trained, licensed therapists who spend well over 60K for an education, end up making around 30K to work in a dangerous, demanding environment for the greater good. Something doesn't add up).