The results are in from the first survey to be undertaken by the Surrey Heartlands residents’ panel which has been specially recruited to reflect on health and social care issues. This time the focus was on mental health.

The overall response rate to the survey was expected to be between 20% and 25% so the actual outcome of more than 50% clearly demonstrates the level of grass roots engagement with the topic. Current panel membership is more than 1,300.

Mental Health workstream programme manager Deborah Hughes said: “Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership is keen to use mixed methods of public engagement research. Earlier there have been various stakeholder events and surveys but this was to survey residents, rather than a self-selected group, on their perceptions of mental health and emotional wellbeing. The idea was to test the concept of a citizen’s panel and to gain an understanding of residents’ views and perceptions on a range of mental health and mental well-being topics.”

Questions included discussion on stigma; general understanding of mental ill health; how comfortable people were to discuss their mental health and some of the options available to support those with Mental Health issues amongst others.

The outcomes of this survey give a really powerful insight into the attitudes and expectations of the general Surrey Heartlands population around mental health and healthcare issues. The results will be analysed and will be used to inform the mental health workstream in their implementation plans and their priorities.

This is the first use of the residents’ panel by a Surrey Heartlands workstream and we are really grateful to those members of the panel who responded to our questions. We are really fortunate to have the residents’ panel at our disposal for surveys like this. A small donation was given by Surrey Heartlands to the Mary Frances Trust charity for every resident who participated in this survey.