SCOTT COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – A Southwest Virginia school system is one of seven in the state to benefit from a $15 million federal grant for the expansion of behavioral and mental health services for students.

A release from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) states that the five-year grant will fund the following school systems:

  • Scott County Public Schools
  • Fredericksburg Public Schools
  • New Kent County Public Schools
  • Portsmouth Public Schools
  • Prince George County Public Schools
  • Roanoke Public Schools
  • Salem Public Schools

According to the VDOE, the seven districts were picked based on “a broad needs assessment aligned with the grant requirements.” Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow announced the grant funding following Governor Glenn Youngkin’s pledge to make mental health services a priority.

The exact division of the funds was not specified in the release; however, the VDOE stated that funding will allow the school systems to hire more mental health professionals like school psychologists, counselors and social workers.

“VDOE staff will work with the divisions to develop detailed plans and budgets that will determine how much each division will receive,” the release states.

Since 2019, the release states the Mental Health Services Grant program has awarded $24.3 million to Virginia for simial mental health services.