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First Lady Chirlane McCray Announces 62 Mayors Sign on to Cities Thrive Coalition Letter to Congress

November 22, 2016

NEW YORK—This week, First Lady Chirlane McCray’s newly formed Cities Thrive Coalition sent a letter to Congressional leadership outlining priorities for the lame duck session. Backed by 62 mayors from across the country, the letter highlights the need to pass H.R.2646 Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act authored by Congressman Tim Murphy, providing full funding for mental health programs and appropriating $920 million dollars to combat the nation’s opioid crisis.

Last week First Lady McCray announced the formation of the coalition at the inaugural Cities Thrive conference. The conference brought together mayors, public health advocates and mental health professionals to discuss programs, policies and practices to best tackle today’s biggest mental health challenges. The conversation revolved around the importance of an effective mental health care system. One in five Americans suffers from a mental health problem, but treatment remains inaccessible. Cities Thrive was the first convening of a national coalition of leaders to advance the mental health reform begun in New York City. The coalition will work to develop a national dialogue and push federal partners to make mental health and substance misuse a top priority across party lines by fully funding mental health efforts.

"The time is now. With mayors from across the country, New York City is leading a national movement for mental health reform," said First Lady Chirlane McCray, who spearheads ThriveNYC. "Mental health affects every family, in every neighborhood, in every community, in every state – whether red or blue. That is why more than 60 leaders from both sides of the aisle have signed a pledge to advocate for the support our cities need. Together we will work for reforms that help us care for our loved ones and prevent mental illness and substance misuse from taking such a devastating toll on our families.‎"

“Last week we held an inaugural convening to kick off a mental health movement in this country, led by cities. The more than 60 mayors that have already signed onto the Cities Thrive coalition signals real commitment to moving a mental health reform agenda forward at the local and federal levels. I am eager to work on behalf of New Yorkers, Alabamans, Texans, Californians and so many more to fight for an effective and accessible mental health system that works for all of us and our families,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery.

Cities Thrive members will both advocate at the national level and commit to implementing change in cities to improve mental health. Members of the Cities Thrive coalition have also signed a pledge to advocate in support of a stronger, more integrated and better funded behavioral health system. This commits leaders to a range of actions, including participating in monthly coalition calls, engaging in national days of action, encouraging federal officials locally and nationally to pursue legislative initiatives to promote mental wellbeing, and providing consistent communication on mental health initiatives within local communities. Cities will commit to presenting their plans for local reform as they work together to press for federal reform.

In the one year since its launch, Thrive NYC has established itself as the most comprehensive mental health plan of any city or state in the nation. Since November of 2015, the ThriveNYC initiative has successfully placed professionals in high-need neighborhoods, established a system to screen mothers for maternal depression, increased access to a life-saving drug, and mobilized houses of worship to break down stigma around mental illness. Most recently, the First Lady announced NYC Well, the nation’s most comprehensive 24/7/365 connection to care for mental illnesses and substance misuse.

First Lady McCray launched ThriveNYC in November 2015 to address the deficit of appropriate mental health services for New Yorkers. ThriveNYC is an unprecedented strategy and set of 54 initiatives by the City to approach mental health as a comprehensive public health challenge involving many City agencies. The 54 initiatives fall under the 6 principles of: Change the Culture, Act Early, Close Treatment Gaps, Partner with Communities, Use Data Better, and Strengthen Government’s Ability to Lead. ThriveNYC aims to change the conversation and stigma surrounding mental illness and provide greater access to mental health care.

List of Signatories:

Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York, NY
Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston, TX
Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia, PA
Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix, AZ
Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, CA
Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, TX
Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville, KY
Jim Strickland, Mayor of Memphis, TN
Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington, DC
Megan Barry, Mayor of Nashville, TN 
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, MD
Martin “Marty” Walsh, Boston, MA
Edward “Ed” Murray, Mayor of Seattle, WA
Michael Hancock, Mayor of Denver, CO
Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland, OR
Carolyn G. Goodman, Mayor of Las Vegas, NV
Mick Cornett, Mayor of Oklahoma City, OK
Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tucson, AZ
Darrell Steinberg, Mayor-elect of Sacramento, CA
Robert Garcia, Mayor of Long Beach, CA 
John Giles, Mayor of Mesa, AZ
Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland, CA
Betsy Hodges, Mayor of Minneapolis, MN 
Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans, LA
Jeff Williams, Mayor of Arlington, TX
Francis Slay, Mayor of St. Louis, MO
William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, PA
Jim Gray, Mayor of Lexington, KY
Paula Hicks-Hudson, Mayor of Toledo, OH
Steve Fulop, Mayor of Jersey City, NJ
Buddy Dyer, Mayor of Orlando, FL
Pete Saenz, Mayor of Laredo, TX
William Bell, Mayor of Birmingham, AL 
Mark Stodala, Mayor of Little Rock, AR 
Jackie Biskupski, Mayor of Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gillum, Mayor of Tallahassee, FL
Joseph Petty, Mayor of Worcester, MA
Madeline Rogero, Mayor of Knoxville, TN
Mark Mitchell, Mayor of Tempe, AZ
Tony Yarber, Mayor of Jackson, MS 
Mark Holland, Mayor of Kansas City, KS
Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, OH
Allison Silberberg, Mayor of Alexandria, VA
Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, SC
Luke Bronin, Mayor of Hartford, CT
John Tecklenburg, Mayor of Charleston, SC 
Ed Pawlowski, Mayor of Allentown, PA
Tim Mahoney, Mayor of Fargo, ND 
Denise Simmons, Mayor of Cambridge, MA 
Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, IN
Ken D. Miyagishima, Mayor of Las Cruces, NM 
Setti Warren, Mayor of Newton, MA
Scott Fadness, Mayor of Fishers, IN
Bobby Hopewell, Mayor of Kalamazoo, MI
Javier Gonzales, Mayor of Santa Fe, NM
Richard Thomas, Mayor of Mount Vernon, NY
Mikkie Belvedere, Mayor of Coconut Creek, FL
Kim Bracey, Mayor of York, PA
Laurel Prussing, Mayor of Urbana, IL
Lauren Meister, Mayor of West Hollywood, CA
Jacob Day, Mayor of Salisbury, MD
Marcus Muhammad, Mayor of Benton Harbor, MI 

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