Baseline data 

Collection Part 2: 

Making Data 

Meaningful & 

Samples To Try 



Baseline Data Part 2 – Making Data Meaningful & Samples To Try

So hopefully now you have a good understanding of the benefits of data and an understanding of the importance of making data practical, engaging and meaningful after reading my Blog Post 6: Baseline Data Collection Part 1 (Reasons For & What To Collect)

Click here to access Blog Post 6: Baseline Data Part 1

Today I am going to go through some specific strategies that you can use to collect community mental health data in more detail.  I will explain the process for each and you can download the FREE resource available on this post to get started with your action team.

Whilst there are many strategies that I can suggest for data collection, I am going to talk about 2 specific strategies that are great to start using immediately and are fairly easy to implement.



A place to start when you have formed your action team it to collect a 3 Tier Snapshot.  This involves collecting information on what is currently happening across the community in mental health with regards to

  • Early Intervention
  • Prevention
  • Awareness

The team can start to identify these things but this provides a great opportunity for the team to either get out and chat to the community about what is happening or send a series of questions to organisations/businesses to ask them what they currently do in each space.


STEP 1  Brainstorm as a team what you think is currently being done in each area across the community

STEP 2     Decide as a team how to get more information from the community to feed into the Tiered Diagram

STEP 3     If choosing to collect information informally through conversations, allocate each member of the team a group of organisations and set a timeframe for data collection.  Team members go to each organisation and ask them 3 questions eg. “What do currently do in your organisation to raise awareness of mental health and issues?”

STEP 4     If collecting information formally through online questions, use a platform such as Microsoft Forms or Survey Monkey to send out to organisations.  This will collate the information for you.  However the challenge with this is to make a plan to follow up to ensure you receive forms or surveys back.  You can brainstorm ideas in order to maximise survey returns prior to delivery.

STEP 5     Collate information and add to 3 Tier Diagram.  Share this information with the community as a snapshot of current practices in mental health.  It is a great starting point for conversations and goal setting. 

# You can also complete a similar activity with protective (reduce the likelihood of poor mental health) and risk factors (increase the likelihood of poor mental health) in your local community.



We have to be careful with surveys as people are time poor and will often overlook a survey when it is sent with completion rates often very disappointing.  However if we add a little creativity we can get surprisingly good results.

STEP 1     As an action team consider what questions to include on your survey?

                  (Download free resource for selection of sample questions to ask in survey and a sample of responses)

STEP 2     Launch survey on social media, in person, via email and through any other available platforms.  Do this rather than just adding it on with little consideration.

STEP 3     Ensure that you include schools in the survey.  If possible ask someone within the school to carry out the survey at a staff meeting/during classes to ensure that all staff and students have a chance to complete the survey

STEP 4     Break survey into individual questions to ask on social media or as a slip to hand out at large gatherings with a ballot type box for collection.

STEP 5     Ask local businesses for a prize donation to use for the first survey completed or a random drawer for anyone who completes the survey

STEP 6     Ask govt organisations for data that may be useful to the action team in decision making.

STEP 7     Collate information and use to make some initial goals and targets

STEP 8     Share results or goals/targets with community to help build awareness and create a presence for the action team

Please check out the FREE resource you can download with samples of all of the above to get you started.

These ideas are far from all that you can do to collect data.  The key is to make it meaningful and purposeful to both the team and the audience.

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 the process for creating goals and targets with your team using all of the data you have collected.

If you have any questions about community approaches to mental health, 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, leave your comment below and contact me with any questions.

Have a great day! 🙂

Renee Knapp


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    Download this free resource to a sample survey that you can use to collect data from your community.  You will also gain access to some sample survey responses to give you an understanding of the valuable information you can acquire when collecting data.

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