About Us


The Survivor Researcher Network (SRN) is a user controlled network for all mental health service users and survivors with an interest in research. The SRN was originally formed after the ‘Strategies for Living’ Mental Health Foundation project (1997-2003). It was hosted by the Mental Health Foundation until 2011, and was then with National Survivor User Network (NSUN).

SRN is now an independent community interest company, Survivor Researcher Network C.I.C.

Survivor/service user research is carried out from the perspective of people who have experienced mental or emotional distress. It is different from traditional Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in research because service users and survivors have control over the research process. This type of ‘user-led’ or ‘user-controlled’ research has grown and developed from the political roots of survivor activism that seek to challenge the psychiatric system, bio-medical ‘illness’ models and collectively develop different forms of knowledge based on lived experience of mental distress. Patient and public involvement (PPI) has become an essential component of NHS research, policy and practice in the UK. An increasing number of service users and survivors are now involved in research in mental health in England. But service user and survivor-led research is an independent discipline in its own right.

The SRN is committed to working from a values base that is:

  • emancipatory
  • experiential
  • holistic
  • inclusive
  • anti-discriminatory


We aim to:

  • provide mental health service users and survivors involved and interested in research a forum for undertaking their work, networking, sharing information and supporting each other
  • support new forms of knowledge making in mental health that are led by people with lived experience of mental distress
  • challenge and broaden mental health research and explore alternatives to bio-medical ‘illness’ models and clinical methodologies
  • promote first hand knowledge and experiential evidence as fundamental for the knowledge base on mental health, human rights and social justice
  • set standards and promote good practice in service user and survivor research in mental health.


You can read further information on our history and approach to research in: