Our Mission

NSUN is a membership organisation and a network of community groups and people who have experience of mental distress, ill-health or trauma who come together to create, challenge, and campaign.

We act as an infrastructure organisation and a sector voice for user-led or lived-experience-led community groups that work to support the mental health of those in their communities. We bring individuals and grassroots groups together to support each other, amplify and strengthen user-led activity, and build shared capacity.

All of our staff members and Trustees have lived experience.

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
More about our work

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

Our 2019 Members’ Manifesto set out our aims and intentions. It talks about addressing the injustice and harm that have been caused by cuts to public funding, making the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’ a reality, campaigning against discrimination and coercion in mental health services, addressing a lack of choice and timely access to appropriate support, and more.

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.

More about our history

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, mission, aims 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.


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 strategic 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


Our values are solidarity, equality, integrity and diversity.

NSUN is committed to diversity and inclusion within our teams and within the work we do. We aim to be an anti-racist organisation. We are explicitly trans-inclusive. We follow the social model of disability and recognise that people are disabled by barriers in society. 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 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.

Want to join the network?

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