By STEPHANIE HERNANDEZ McGAVIN
Capital News Service
LANSING — Health and law enforcement professionals are increasingly recognizing the importance of innovative mental health jail diversion programs, working to implement them in their own counties with state and locally funds. The Department of Health and Human Services will fund expansion of jail diversion efforts in January 2016 through Gov. Rick Snyder’s Mental Health Diversion Council. The program will award about $1.2 million in total to two new agency projects and current pilot projects. Steven Mays, the diversion administrator at the department said, said this year’s program will be a little different from previous years’. To give agencies enough support and time to establish their programs, the council will continue to fund existing projects instead of a large number of new ones, Mays said.