Our Mission, Vision & Values

NSUN is a membership organisation and a network of grassroots, user-led community groups and people who have lived experience of mental ill-health, distress, and trauma. NSUN connects, supports, and amplifies the voices and work of these members. As a user-led organisation, all of our staff members and trustees have lived experience.

We work to redistribute power and resource in mental health. We do this by:

  • Building, amplifying and distributing the knowledge that is held by people with lived experience
  • Creating collaborative spaces with members and partners to build momentum and sustainability for the work
  • Building an alternative approach to mental health policy work
  • Working with funders and acting as a microfunder to redistribute resources to grassroots user-led groups, as well as working to build capacity and sustainability in other, non-material ways

Find out more by visiting our “What We Do” page.

NSUN’s Charitable Aims are:

  1. To create and strengthen links between individuals and groups
  2. To support and promote user-led groups and initiatives
  3. To influence and inform policy and decision makers

Our history and the language we use

Our name came from the survivor/service user movement, referring to those who have survived trauma (including within the mental health system), and those who used or use mental health services (sometimes called ‘service users’). There is no one unified narrative around what it means to experience long-term mental distress. NSUN was set up to gather and hold these diverse narratives and represent them in an authentic, safe and powerful way.

Read more about our history, and the language we use, on our “History & Glossary” page.

Our vision, mission, and values


Our vision is for the lives of people who experience mental distress, discrimination and disadvantage to be better.


Our mission is to create a diverse, inclusive and influential user-led network with the strength to challenge inequality and improve lives.


Our values are solidarity, equality, integrity and diversity.

NSUN is committed to equity and inclusion within our teams and within the work we do.

NSUN has a zero-tolerance approach to racism with an aim to be an anti-racist organisation. We are committed to ensuring we have a culture of trust, with safe spaces and systems, where our members, trustees or staff experiencing racism feel confident to come forward and know that they will be listened to and their concerns will be acted upon.

NSUN is an explicitly trans-inclusive organisation. We aim to co-create a work environment that is welcoming of trans, non-binary and intersex colleagues. We are committed to ongoing training on trans equality for staff, associates, and trustees, and we have recently finalised an internal Transitioning at Work Policy, setting out how NSUN will support staff through transition.

NSUN follows the social model of disability and as such recognises that people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their “impairment” or “difference”. As an organisation, we want to work towards the principles of the disability justice movement.

Find out more by reading our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.

If you’re not happy with any aspect of the NSUN team’s work or you feel our work is not in line with the vision, mission, values, or aims of the organisation, then you have the right to complain, have your complaint investigated, and be given a full and prompt reply. You can download the NSUN Complaints Policy via our policy list on our “Governance & Finance” page.