CLEVELAND — Whether it’s school, social media, the coronavirus pandemic or being away from family and friends, young people are dealing with many things that impact their mental health. 

What You Need To Know

  • A northeast Ohio woman created a portable and personalized tool to help young people address anxiety and various emotions

  • Laylah Allen’s Project Coping Box has teamed up with Ohio schools to bring coping tools to classrooms

  • Allen is currently making coping boxes for adults and toddlers

“If they're missing that connectivity or that engagement, that can have a severe effect on how they act when they finally do have the opportunity to be around somebody,” Laylah Allen said. 

Allen the founder of the non-profit organization The Missing Link, C.O.P.E Inc. and created Project Coping Box to help. 

Inside of the coping boxes are various items, many of them simple but impactful things that help young people calm down, focus their thoughts and address anxiety.

Allen, who is a mental health advocate and is certified in mental health first aid and suicide prevention, launched the Missing Link, C.O.P.E Inc. in 2018.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Allen decided since she couldn’t interact with young people directly, she would put the tools in their hands, including prepackaged coping boxes delivered to the juvenile detention center in Cleveland. 

“These will actually be left there at the facility for them to take out in use when they have downtime, which is really awesome for them,” Allen said. “Because they still need that stimulation as well, actually probably more than any of the other populations that I’m working with at this time.” 

Project Coping Box includes the coping box and a 10-session curriculum and programming that Allen started facilitating in Garfield Heights and Warrensville schools. The tools she gives students inside and outside of the boxes have already proven to be successful. 

“It’s seen in the kids’ faces, the excitement that they have when I come to visit school just do my one-hour workshop for Project Coping Box,” Allen said. “I get even more excited when I see people apply the things that we've talked about in class.”