Baseline data 

Collection Part 1: 

Reasons For & 

What To Collect 




Baseline Data Part 1 – Reasons For & What To Collect


DATA!  When I hear the word data I cringe – well I should say I used to cringe. 

But I have since come to realise that if done effectively and in a manner that appeals to a wide audience it becomes a powerful tool to enable goal setting and measure success and identify areas for improvement.

When we begin a new initiative, we are often so excited to get started and to see results, that we forget to take time to identify what is really going on.  Collecting data gives us the opportunity to identify what is ‘actually happening’.  We typically have a good sense of what this is, but effective data collection ensures that we understand the true needs of the community rather than our assumed ones.  We can often use this data collection to identify target groups within our local area and to assist us in setting initial goals and targets. 

Another important benefit of collecting data is that it is very powerful when sourcing essential funding and grants.  It can help provide the backbone for our initiatives and can help provide evidence needed when requesting funding for new initiatives.    

When collecting baseline data in preparation for action planning and goal setting I would recommend the following techniques:


  1. Use of a 3 Tier Diagram
  • This is a great tool to use when first beginning to get a snapshot of current strategies and to help identify where the gaps exist
  1. Targeted Surveys
  • Surveys provided in a variety of forms including online, paper and in person
  • Ensure that surveys are provided to local schools. This is an ideal way to collect data from the youth and also the teachers within the school.  Be sure to check the format that is suitable as many schools must stick to using tools such as Microsoft Forms etc.
  1. Specific questions from within the surveys posted on the team’s social media channels
  • This can be a great way to engage busy people who may not have time to complete a survey but can jot down a quick answer to one question on social media
  1. A simple question posted at an event or as people are leaving
  • There could even be an ipad where people input their answer to the question
  • Or instead you could have a question posted on a wall with answers and people simply add a sticky dot next to their preferred answer
  1. Use the initial data to set some initial goals and targets
  • This will allow the team to get some early wins and raise awareness out in the community or local area
  1. Provide an initiative for getting the surveys back on time
  • A little incentive goes a long way to motivating people

If you would like to keep up to date with future blog posts on this topic as they are released, please subscribe to my FREE newsletter and you will receive a FREEBIE to help you get started developing a community approach to mental health.

If you would prefer to chat to me in person, I am available via email, zoom or phone to come to community group, school, business or random location to discuss how you can begin to set up a cross sector approach to mental health in your setting. I can also help your problem solve any issues you are having or help you implement any initiatives you have planned.  You can also simply email me to vent about any issues you are currently facing or successes you have achieved.

IF you would like to schedule a zoom chat to me to see if we are a good fit or ask any questions click on the link below.

I also have resources available to support you or if you wish to guide yourself through the process by following this link below.


In my next blog post I will explain how and why to collect baseline data when looking to improve mental health in your community. 

If you have any questions about community approaches to mental health, behavioural initiative, student mental health & wellbeing,  or any other areas of interest, please send me an email at

or check out

for more detailed information, resources and about how we can work together.

As always, please feel free to share my blog post with friends and colleagues and contact me with any questions.

Have a great day! 🙂

Renee Knapp


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