Mental Health Diversion Collaboration



The Policing and Mental Health Collaboration for Diversion Programs grant, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), brought the Orange County Criminal Justice Department, the Carrboro Police Department, the Chapel Hill Police Department, the Hillsborough Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the Freedom House Recovery Center into partnership for a collaboration for mental health diversion.

The grant recognizes the need to divert individuals with mental illness to appropriate community behavioral health providers and support services. Thus, this collaborative effort aims at reducing the number of individuals with serious mental illness entering the criminal legal system.

The team responsible for assisting referred individuals, the Community Care and Diversion Response team, include: a Mental Health Diversion Coordinator, a Freedom House Recovery Center Clinician, a Freedom House Recovery Center Peer Support Specialist, and Law Enforcement Social Workers. 


The primary goal is to ensure that individuals with serious mental illness receive the treatment and support they need instead of being prosecuted in the criminal legal system for low-level offenses.

The grant aims to promote diversion to community-based resources that can provide effective treatment, harm reduction strategies, and recovery services for behavior that is primarily a result of a mental health diagnosis.


The program involves a strong collaboration between various stakeholders, including the Criminal Justice Resource Department, Freedom House Recovery Center, Chapel Hill Police Department, Carrboro Police Department, Hillsborough Police Department, and Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

By working together, we can leverage the expertise and resources of each partner agency to provide comprehensive support for individuals in need.

Pre-Arrest Diversion

The program includes a pre-arrest diversion component where individuals are identified during law enforcement interactions and assessed for eligibility. 

If appropriate, individuals are diverted to the CCDR team Social Worker and subsequently the community behavioral health providers, offering services such as harm reduction, medication support, and recovery assistance.

Post-Arrest Diversion

In cases where diversion before arrest is not possible, the program will seek to ensure that individuals receive the necessary mental health support after entering the criminal legal system or incarceration.

The CCDR Coordinator. the licensed clinician, peer support specialist, and social workers will collaborate to connect individuals with community resources and provide ongoing case management.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The program has implemented mechanisms to monitor the progress of individuals throughout the program, ensuring they receive appropriate care and support. 

Regular evaluations allow us to assess the program's effectiveness and equity, to identify areas for improvement, and to make necessary adjustments.

Long-term Support

Commitment extends beyond immediate diversion. There is a priority in ensuring long-term support and access to community behavioral health providers, so that individuals have the ongoing care they need for long-term recovery and stability.

Performance Measures

We aim to measure the success of our program through various metrics, such as having fewer individuals with mental illness in the criminal legal system, faster diversion from incarceration back into the community, reduced Emergency Department admissions, improved mental health outcomes, and increased utilization of community resources.

By diverting individuals from the criminal legal system and facilitating their engagement with appropriate services, we expect to see positive outcomes for both individuals and the community as a whole.

Make a referral to the CCDR Team

To make a referral please complete the appropriate online referral form:

You may also submit a completed PDF referral form (listed on the CCDR Related Documents on the right) to the Mental Health Diversion Coordinator -- Ashley Machado.