Our Mission

We are an independent membership organisation and the UK’s only mental health charity to center the survivor and lived experience voice. All of our staff members and Trustees have lived experience of mental ill-health, trauma, or distress.

We are a network of individuals with experience of mental distress and grassroots, user-led community groups, acting as an infrastructure organisation and a sector voice for user-led or lived-experience-led groups who work to support the mental health of those in their communities. We bring individuals and groups together to support each other, amplify and strengthen user-led activity, and build shared capacity. We influence policy and practice through our membership of various alliances and consortiums including the Health and Wellbeing Alliance, the Disability Benefits Consortium, the Mental Health Alliance (which scrutinises mental health legislation) and many more.

NSUN is not a one-issue organisation: we work to address the social, material and cultural determinants of mental distress and recognise that inequality, marginalisation, and the political conditions of society and systems play a large part in people’s experiences of mental ill-health, trauma, and distress.

NSUN provides:

  • Regular communications to members through a weekly e-bulletin that includes opportunities for involvement and influencing, events, news from around the country, research and policy updates
  • Events and resources for members
  • Collective responses to policy developments and consultations and the promotion of collective action
  • Facilitation and support for involvement and influencing opportunities locally and nationally
  • Support and capacity-building for new and existing user-led initiatives and groups

Our origins:

Our name came from the survivor/service user movement, referring to those who have survived trauma (from their mental distress or 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 here.


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.


We aim to connect individuals and groups and then support, encourage, amplify, influence and advocate so that the issues, ideas, dreams and ambitions of those who live with long-term distress and/or mental ill-health can become actions. Our aims are:

  • To create and strengthen links between individuals and groups
  • To support and promote user-led groups and initiatives
  • To influence and inform policy and decision makers

If you’re not happy with any aspect of the NSUN team’s work or you feel our work is not inline with the mission, 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 here.

Ready to join us?

Sign up for free to join our network of more than 4000 individuals and 650 user-led groups.