Frequently Asked Questions

All your questions regarding OPEN (Our Personal Experience Network) are answered.

Our vision is good mental health for all. Our mission is to help people understand, protect and sustain their mental health.

The Mental Health Foundation takes a public mental health approach to prevention, finding solutions for individuals, those at risk and society to improve everyone’s mental wellbeing.

Prevention is at the heart of what we do. Our vision is good mental health for all. Our mission is to help people understand, protect and sustain their mental health.

If you’d like more information, please see thee about us page.

OPEN is a diverse online community of people whose opinions and experiences inform what we do.

We want to make sure that our work is truly relevant to people’s lives, and the only way to do that is to work with you to find out about your experiences.

By joining OPEN, you will be signing up to receive invitations by email to participate in a range of different involvement opportunities with the Foundation.

That's great news! Go to our sign-up form: Join Now

OPEN is only for people over 18.

We already work with Leaders Unlocked to gain insight from people under 18 – they enable young people to have a stronger voice on issues affecting their lives. They would be an excellent place to get involved if you are looking to use your voice for impactful change.

You can also look into Young Minds, the UK's leading charity championing children and young people's wellbeing and mental health.

At the moment, there are a few ways that we’re likely to ask you to get involved:

Quick poll – giving us your opinion on one burning question, picking your favourite of a few options

Survey – slightly longer online questionnaire

Focus group or workshop – with other people from OPEN, led by someone from the Foundation, online or in person

Interview – one-to-one with someone from the Foundation, online or in person

Case study – writing a short piece about your experience

Media interviews – working with us to communicate with the media

Creativity - submitting ideas in a creative way, such as through photographs or drawings

Advisory group – joining a group that meets several times to help design or guide a project.

The involvement opportunities will all be very different. Through OPEN, we want to grow and develop how we work with you all. How we ask you to get involved will change and evolve as this happens.

This depends on the opportunity.

Where opportunities are just quick polls or surveys, you will complete these online through a link in an email.

Where we are looking for specific people, you may have to complete some initial screening questions to confirm your eligibility.

Where opportunities require a bit more commitment from you, for instance, participating in a research project or joining a focus group, you’ll be passed on to someone within the Foundation who will lead the project. They will communicate with you from there and help set you up for the project.


Everybody has mental health. We want input from people with a full range of mental health experiences – whether this is good, bad, something in between or something you’ve never thought about.


We welcome everyone from any background, to join OPEN. If you work in mental health, we’d still like to hear from you, although we want to hear from you through the lens of your personal experience rather than your professional opinion.

We want you to benefit from being part of OPEN. Everyone will get something different out of their involvement, but it might include:

  • Helping to transform our society for the better so that more people can thrive
  • Supporting others by sharing your painful or positive experiences and your knowledge about what helps
  • Feeling heard and knowing that your voice matters
  • Learning more about mental health in a safe space to benefit you and those you care about
  • Developing new skills, from speaking in a group to understanding research
  • Being part of a revolutionary approach to mental health: stopping problems before they start and supporting solutions that benefit everybody

There will be compensation for your time and expenses for opportunities that require a substantial time commitment, travel, or meeting in person.

Yes, we will. 

Summaries of the impact of various OPEN projects will be put on the OPEN hub page. As OPEN is brand new, this may take a while to build up as we analyse what you tell us and work this into our ongoing projects.

We would appreciate it if you could encourage anyone you know to join OPEN. We want to make sure that this network includes as many different people as possible, and you can help a lot with that. In particular, you can help us by passing this on to anyone you know who may not have got involved in something like this before.

If you are sent a specific opportunity that you think would be relevant to someone you know, you can forward the email for them to take part – but do encourage them to join!

Currently, you will hear from us via email only. We will update you if this changes in the future.

This depends on how many opportunities we have for you. You won’t hear from us any more than once a week – it will most likely be once every two weeks to once a month. 

That is absolutely fine. Your involvement in the network and each opportunity is entirely voluntary.

You can decide which opportunities you want to be involved in and which ones you don’t.

If you would like to remove yourself from the network entirely, you can do so by unsubscribing through the link at the bottom of one of our emails. We will delete all of your data once you do this. Or you can email us at  [email protected]  and ask to be removed.

The online form you fill in to join OPEN is protected by encryption. We take appropriate measures to ensure that while you are part of OPEN, your personal information disclosed to us at any point is kept secure, accurate and up to date, and kept only for so long as you are part of OPEN.

If you would like more information on this, then please see our full Privacy Statement.

We welcome feedback from all OPEN members. We will be in touch once a year to ask for your detailed feedback. You can also email us at  [email protected] .

OPEN is brand new to the Foundation and is currently run by a small team. We are hoping to grow in the future but are limited in our capacity to incorporate all feedback we receive at the moment. Feedback will be considered during regular reviews of OPEN, and action will be taken where we see consistent trends.

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