Kathy Carter: 2020 Lasting Legacy Award Recipient

JOIN US in congratulating Kathy Carter, a recipient of the Missouri Lasting Legacy Award! Kathy is a preeminent pioneer in shaping the values and the vision of community behavioral health services in Missouri, which continue to guide Missouri’s community behavioral health systems.

Shortly after the passage of 1963 federal community mental health legislation inspired by President John F. Kennedy, a number of Missouri communities were early pioneers in establishing regional Community Mental Health Centers and forming the Missouri Coalition for Community Mental Health Centers (currently named the Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Healthcare). Kathy was selected to serve as the first CEO of the Coalition and continued in this capacity for 26 years, until her retirement in 2005. During these years, she provided exemplary mental health leadership for governors, legislators, the Missouri Department of Mental Health directors, provider and advocacy organizations, as well as for consumers seeking a stronger voice in treatment and care.

In 2007, she was appointed to serve on the Missouri Mental Health Commission, the principal policy advisory body to the Department Director. Serving in this role for 12 years, she is one of the longest-tenured Commission Members in Missouri’s history. In 2008, she was appointed as a founding Board Member for the Missouri Mental Health Foundation (MMHF), an organization which provides platforms to enhance public awareness of achievements of people with behavioral health disorders and developmental disabilities, thus reducing stigma and building public support. She served for 11 years in this capacity, including many years in an officer role.

Her pioneering work and leadership have been widely recognized, including Lifetime Achievement Awards, Mental Health Volunteer of the Year at both the state and national levels, the Eternal Flame of Hope Award, and many others. She has been the single most constant and influential force in the promotion of community mental health in the State of Missouri.