Mental Health Coping Kits

When someone is struggling with their mental health, it's helpful to have a variety of tools at the ready in the difficult moments.

CATCH created Mental Health Coping Kits to offer children an assortment of tangible items and a list of strategies they can turn to and discover what works for them.

Coping Kits Catching On!

Since CATCH distributed our first Coping Kits in May of 2021, we've handed out more than 5,000 bags of tools for kids of all ages.

Initially, CATCH volunteers developed the kits for graduating seniors.  Now, we offer various kits designed for kids in elementary school, junior high, and high school.

In the 2023-2024 school year, kits will go to all freshman in Glenbrook District 225 and to students at:

• Northbrook Junior High (D28)
• Wood Oaks Junior High (D27)
• Field Middle School (D31)
• Westmoor Elementary School (D28)
• Greenbriar Elementary School (D30)
• Winkelman Elementary School (D31)
• Shabonee Elementary School (D27)

Coping Kits are funded through a number of grants and donations and delivered to students for free.

Grateful for our Volunteers!

Thank you to our volunteers who donate their time to pack coping kits.  In the pictures below, you'll see our dedicated community members who helped prepare kits for Glenbrook North H.S. and Glenbrook South H.S. freshmen in the fall of 2022. These kits were funded by the Village of Northbrook and Northfield Township.

4th, 5th, 6th Graders Benefit from Coping Kits

Mental health tools distributed to Northbrook School District 28 students in Spring 2022 

Elementary and junior high school students  in three different grades received CATCH Coping Kits in May 2022 as part of Mental Health Awareness Month. 

The kits went to students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades at Northbrook School District 28 thanks to a generous grant from the Northbrook School District 28 PTO Council.

Items in these kits included coping skills posters, yoga cards, fidgets, and guidance on managing screen time.  

The Northbrook District 28 students also watched a presentation by NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, about ending the stigma related to mental illness.

Kits Delivered to All GBN Students, Fall 2021

Every student at Glenbrook North High School received a CATCH Mental Health Coping Kit in the fall of 2021.

Volunteers from the Glenbrook Foundation, the Rotary Club of Northbrook, and others in the community came together to assemble the 2,100 kits and show their support for mental health.

The Village of Northbrook and the Glenbrook Foundation provided generous funding for this project.

GBN Class of 2021 first recipients of Coping Kits

When Glenbrook North High School Seniors picked up their caps and gowns for 2021 graduation, they also received a Mental Health Coping Kit as a graduation gift.

CATCH created the Coping Kits to let the graduates know “we see you and we care about you.”

The kits were designed to provide comfort and help graduates navigate the challenges that life inevitably brings.

In a note to recipients, CATCH wrote, “While we don’t expect these items to fix things, we hope that something will resonate with you and become a useful tool as you write the next chapter in your story.”

These CATCH Coping Kits were funded by families in the community who recognized the extreme challenge students faced during the school year as they dealt with profound losses in the midst of a pandemic.

CATCH distributed more than 500 kits at that time.

What's in each coping kit?

Here are examples of some of the items in the various kits:

Mental Health Decal Stickers
The stickers are made of a vinyl, waterproof material, and are meant for display to prompt conversations about mental health, help end the stigma of mental illness, and remind everyone “it’s ok to not be ok.”

Mental Health Matters: Tips for Teens Poster
This small poster easily hangs on a closet door, bulletin board, or refrigerator or stays tucked in a school folder so that someone can access it at a moment’s notice. It includes strategies for what to do when feeling stressed or panicked as well as mantras and grounding techniques to help someone refocus and reframe their thoughts.

Sensory Putty
Putty works as a stress reliever. As you knead and manipulate the putty, it can help you re- focus, re-balance, and restore calm.

Acupressure Ring
The rings provide relief by applying pressure and releasing tension. They are best used when you are feeling tired, your mind is distracted, or you need to improve your concentration. They can also help ground your thoughts and bring you back from panic or worry to focus on the here and now.

Roll-on Essential Oil
This roll-on provides aromatherapy by stimulating the smell receptors in your nose and sending messages to your nervous system to relieve anxiety and stress.

CATCH Wallet Card
This business-sized card includes numbers for several hotlines that offer immediate support in a moment of crisis. It’s important to know that there is always someone willing to help. They are just a phone call or text away.

Research & Development of First Kit

A team of CATCH volunteers research items appropriate for children of varying ages in order to assemble the kits.  A sample of teens and school staff evaluated and provided feedback on the first kits in the spring of 2021.  Since then, CATCH continues to seek input and update the kits with new items.

“In addition to helping in the moment, we hope that these kits will bring the difficult topic of mental health illness out in the open. We need to make illnesses like depression and anxiety as safe to talk about as cancer and diabetes. Only then can we end the stigma and save lives."

Donna Sabin
CATCH volunteer