MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia University recently received a massive mental health grant from the U.S. Department of Education Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Program and is using it to assist the community.

The grant amounts to $5.2 million and will be disbursed over five years within public schools in Harrison County. The purpose of this grant is to increase the capacity for schools to better handle mental health, address the growing mental health crisis within our nation and proactively reach students who may need more support. A portion of the grant will also be used to financially assist West Virginia University graduate students pursuing master’s degrees in clinical or school counseling.

Harrison County was selected for this grant as there is currently a significant lack of mental health providers within the county, as well as the schools. 12 News spoke with Dr. Rawn Boulden, an assistant professor at WVU’s School of Counseling and Well-Being, on WVU’s intentions with this grant.

“Over the next five years, we hope to be able to impact more than 10,000 students in Harrison County schools by being able to provide critical school-based mental health services and also to, again, address the increasing, kind of surging, mental health crisis we’re really seeing across our nation,” said Boulden.

Dr. Boulden, who is currently in the process of figuring out logistics, said that both WVU and the Harrison County Board of Education will be, “using the next three or four months to get up prepared for the next five years.”