Appalachian State University, Ashe County Schools and RTI International are collaborating as part of a rural mental health grant over a five-year period that started in October.

The Ashe Post and Times reports the program will receive $2.5 million to be spread across the three agencies.

The funds come from the U.S. Department of Education for the “Rural School Mental Health Training and Service Provision in North Carolina” grant proposal.

According to the report, the grant will support a scaling up of the long-standing partnership between the university and rural K–12 schools for Assessment, Support and Counseling Centers to serve youth and families in rural communities.

The ACS will oversee the program as a whole and work to place clinical counseling and psychology interns in the areas of highest need in Ashe County Schools.

The ASC Center is also involved in a 13-year partnership between Watauga County Schools and App State that provides Watauga High School students with mental health services.