Bipartisan delegation from The U.S. Conference of Mayors met with congressional leaders last week, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Washington, D.C. — During meetings with senior congressional leaders of both parties last week, America’s mayors called mental illness the “number one crisis” facing America’s cities and pushed for increased federal resources and collaboration. The mayors discussed the urgent need for comprehensive legislation to address the staggering rise in Americans reporting mental and behavioral health challenges and disparities in access to care across the country.

The bipartisan group of mayors was led by the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), Reno (NV) Mayor Hillary Schieve.

“We went to the Hill last week because what we’re seeing in our cities is a national emergency,” said Reno (NV) Mayor and USCM President Hillary Schieve. “Mayors are doing everything we can on the ground to get Americans the help they need, but we can’t do this alone. The severity of this crisis requires a coordinated response that guarantees resources reach those most in need, where they are: at the local level. This is not a political issue — it’s an issue that touches nearly every family, individual and community in the country. We thank congressional leaders for meeting with us and look forward to working together with the urgency that this crisis demands.”

Mayor Schieve was joined by Fresno (CA) Mayor Jerry Dyer, Denton (TX) Mayor Gerard Hudspeth, Schenectady (NY) Mayor Gary McCarthy, Albany (NY) Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Piscataway (NJ) Mayor Brian Wahler, Fontana (CA) Mayor Acquanetta Warren, and Huntington (WV) Mayor Steve Williams.

The bipartisan group met with various congressional leaders, including U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). They also met with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), staff for John Cornyn (R-TX), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) as well as Representatives Mark Amodei (R-NV), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Jamie Raskin (D-MD).

The advocacy efforts were reported in various media outlets, including USA Today, NBC News’ Meet the Press/Now, Semafor Principals, Politico Pro Influence, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Last month, The U.S. Conference of Mayors released a new survey from 117 cities that detailed the startling reality of the mental health challenges in America. The survey responses provided critical insight into the mental health needs in America’s cities, how local officials are working to address them, the problems they are facing in doing so, and what they need to better serve those with mental and behavioral health problems.