RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services awarded two funding opportunities of $6,755,000 on Tuesday to community-based mental health providers.

The programs will help individuals with serious mental illness within the criminal justice system. The money will help create solutions that offer independence, improve health and promote well-being for North Carolinians.

“These new programs represent a comprehensive approach to addressing the intersection of behavioral health and the justice system,” said Deepa Avula, Director of Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Use Services.

“These new investments will save money and, more importantly, lives,” said Avula.

Over $4.75 million in total will go to four sites for police and mental health collaborations for diversion programs to help offenders stay out of the criminal justice system.

The diversion programs are for individuals with serious mental illness who have had prior contact with the criminal justice system.

Up to $2 million in total will go to four jail-based treatment for serious mental illness. The funding will address the gap in care and treatment for individuals currently in North Carolina jails.

The grants are funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act funding and CARES Act funding via the Mental Health Block Grant.