(WWLP) – State Attorney General Maura Healey has announced a new $2.9 million grant program, that aims to help patients in urgent need of mental health care.

The grant program will support nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts that provide services for patients in need of urgent mental health care, without needing to go through a hospital’s emergency department.

“As we see an increased demand for mental health services, it is vital that patients and families can access the appropriate care they need,” said AG Healey. “This grant program will help connect patients in crisis with more immediate mental health support while alleviating the strain on overwhelmed hospitals.”

Reports have shown that patients must wait in an emergency department, or medical-surgical bed, sometimes for days or even weeks, until a psychiatric bed, or other appropriate services, become available. Grantees may use the funds to create new programming and expand the capacity of current programs/services, where current funding sources have fallen short.